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Bell P-59 Airacomet
Bell P-59 Airacomet
The Bell P-59 Airacomet was a twin jet-engined fighter aircraft, the first produced in the United States, designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II. The United States Army Air Forces were not impressed by its performance and cancelled the contract when fewer than half of the aircraft ordered had been produced. Although no P-59s entered combat, the fighter paved the way for another design generation of U.S. turbojet-powered aircraft, and was the first turbojet fighter to have its turbojet engine and air inlet nacelles integrated within the main fuselage.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108771
  • 8/1943: First flight.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108772
  • 1944: USAF 445th FS (412th FG)
  • 12/5/1944: Crashed near Hope AR due to mechanical failure.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108773
  • 9/1943: Traded to England for the first production Gloster Meteor I and assigned RAF serial number RJ362/G
  • 11/1943: Sent to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, England
  • 6/1945: Returned to the USAF
  • NACA laboratory at Cleveland, OH for tests.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108774
  • Information Needed

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108775
  • 1944: Flight Section-Wright Field, OH
  • 2/19/1945: Crashed on take-off from Reidsville Aux Field, NC.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108776
  • 1944: USAF 445th FS (412th FG)
  • 1946: USAF 321st Base Unit
  • 7/23/1946: Ran out of gas and crashed near Grants, NM.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108777
  • Modified with observer's cockpit in nose
  • 6/1946: Donated to Caly Poly University, CA
  • Was preserved at the Air Museum at Ontario, CA
  • Currently preserved at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA
  • Being restored to flying condition.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108778
  • 11/1943: Transferred to the US Navy for carrier suitability tests, as Bureau Number 63960
  • 1943-47: NATC.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108779
  • 12/1943: Transferred to the US Navy for carrier suitability tests, as Bureau Number 63961
  • 1943: NATC.

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108780
  • 6/25/1944: Crash landed at Niagara Falls APT, NY. Still with the Bell factory? Or on 3/23/1945?

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108781
  • Information Needed

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108782
  • Information Needed

Bell YP-59A-BE Airacomet/42-108783
  • 6/1944: Delivered to the USAAF
  • 1946: USAF 4020th Base Unit
  • Modified with extra cockpit in nose
  • Modified as a drone controller
  • Sent to be a gunnery target at Edwards AFB, CA.

Bell XP-59A-BE first prototype Airacomet/42-108784
  • 10/2/1942: First flight
  • Currently preserved at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

Bell XP-59A-BE second prototype Airacomet/42-108785
  • 2/15/1943: First flight
  • 1945: USAF 4126th Base Unit
  • 1945: USAF 4144th Base Unit
  • 10/1945: Salvaged for spare parts.

Bell XP-59A-BE third prototype Airacomet/42-108786
  • 4/1943: First flight
  • USAF 4144th Base Unit
  • 4/1947: Used for spare parts but not totally salvaged
  • Currently preserved at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22609
  • 1945: USAAF Air Material Command at Wright Field, OH
  • 3/5/1945: Destroyed at at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH after crashing into a parked aircraft? Help?

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22610
  • 1944-45: USAAF Cold Weather Test Lab at Ladd AAB, AK
  • 6/1946: Salvaged by the War Assets Corporation.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22611
  • 1944: USAAF 29th FS (412th FG).

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22612
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22613
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22614
  • Currently preserved at the March Field Museum at March AFB, CA.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22615
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22616
  • 1/5/1945: Crashed near Mapleton, NY.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22617
  • 3/1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22618
  • 1944: USAF 445th FS (412th FG)
  • 12/7/1944: Crashed near Oildale, CA due to a mechanical failure.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22619
  • 1944: USAF 31st FS (412th FG)
  • 11/14/1944: Ran out of gas and crashed near Dayton, OH. Or on 11/13/1944?

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22620
  • 1944-45: USAAF 29th FS (412th FG)
  • 3/1/1945: Crashed in the Mojave Desert near Grey Butte AAF, CA after a collision with P-59A 44-22626. Pilot was killed.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22621
  • 1945: USAF 29th FS (412th FG).

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22622
  • 1946: USAF 6th Ferrying Group, at Long Beach AAF, CA.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22623
  • 1945: USAF 611th Base Unit
  • 3/1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22624
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22625
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22626
  • 1945: USAAF 29th FS (412th FG)
  • 3/1/1945: Crashed in the Mojave Desert near Grey Butte AAF, CA after a collision with P-59A 44-22620. Pilot was killed
  • 3/1945: Wreck salvaged for spare parts in Bakersfield, CA.

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22627
  • 1945: USAF 29th FS (412th FG).

Bell P-59A-1-BE Airacomet/44-22628
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22629
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22630
  • Flight Test Division, at Wright Field, OH.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22631
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22632
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22633
  • Redesignated ZF-59B
  • 10/1948: Written-off at Muroc AAB, CA
  • Currently preserved at Edwards AFB, CA.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22634
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22635
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22636
  • 1945: USAAF 412th FG
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22637
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22638
  • 1946: USAF 6th Ferrying Group, at Long Beach AAF, CA.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22639
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22640
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22641
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22642
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22643
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22644
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22645
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22646
  • 1945: USAF 31st FS (412th FG).

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22647
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22648
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22649
  • 1945: USAF 412th Base Unit
  • 8/27/1945: Crashed at Memphis APT, TN due to engine failure.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22650
  • NACA Labratory at Cleveland, OH
  • 1947: Kirtland AFB, NM for tests
  • Was preserved at Kirtland AFB, NM
  • 1953: Assigned to the New Mexico Air National Guard, at Kirtland AFB, NM as a ground trainer
  • Currently preserved at the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22651
  • 10/1945: Transferred to the US Navy for testing, as Bureau Number 64100
  • 1945: NATC.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22652
  • 1946: USAF 4120th Base Unit.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22653
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22654
  • 1946: Sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD for vulnerability tests
  • 1949: Salvaged at least by this date.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22655
  • Information Needed

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22656
  • Donated to Purdue University, IN
  • Currently preserved at the Harold Wasp Pioneer Village in Minden, NE.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22657
  • 2/1946: Transferred to the US Navy for testing, as Bureau Number 64109
  • 1946: NATC
  • 12/1947: Salvaged at Norfolk, VA.

Bell P-59B-1-BE Airacomet/44-22658
  • 5/1945: Delivered to the USAAF
  • 1/1946: Transferred to the US Navy for testing, as Bureau Number 64108
  • 1946-47: NATC
  • 12/8/1947: Crashed
  • 4/1948: Wreck salvaged at Norfolk, VA.

Research assistance provided by
  • Tjalling Boelman
  • Chris Brame
  • Bill Clark
  • Nathan Decker
  • Andrew Jones
  • Frank Roales
  • John Szalay
  • Johan Visschedijk
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