Historic P-63 NACA Markings to be Unveiled During “Warbirds in Review” at AirVenture 2017

A photo of the CAF Dixie Wing's P-63 Kingcobra taken in 1945 at Moffett Filed, CA.
A photo of the CAF Dixie Wing's P-63 Kingcobra taken in 1945 at Moffett Filed, CA.
A photo of the CAF Dixie Wing’s P-63 Kingcobra taken in 1945 at Moffett Filed, CA.

 

The Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) newly restored Bell P-63A Kingcobra will join the “Warbirds in Review” program at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)  AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin between July 24th and 30th, 2017. The aircraft spent 16 years under restoration before flying again this spring at Atlanta Regional Airport – Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia. The P-63, restored and operated by the CAF Dixie Wing, served many roles, from test aircraft to air show performer.

Former astronaut Gen. Joe Engle (Ret’d), who was associated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from the X-15 program through Apollo to the Space Shuttle, will be a guest speaker at Warbirds in Review. He will share the history of the P-63 and NASA on Saturday, July 29th at 1:00pm. He is the only person to have flown two different types of winged vehicles in space: the X-15 and Space Shuttle. He also is the only astronaut to manually fly the Shuttle through reentry and landing.

“This P-63 was used by the NACA for early flight testing, and we plan to unveil in Oshkosh the special markings the airplane carried in 1945 when based at Moffett Field,” said Mo Aguiari, Marketing Director for the Dixie Wing. “For this year’s Warbirds in Review, we have asked NASA to send a T-38 Talon as part of the program. The T-38 is used by NASA to train astronauts, which symbolizes the historic link between NACA and NASA.”

A pair of T-38s dive toward a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in Calif., on a steep approach like the one the shuttle uses on approach. Photo courtesy of Story Musgrave (Photo via NASA)
A pair of T-38s dive toward a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in Calif., on a steep approach like the one the shuttle uses on approach. Photo courtesy of Story Musgrave (Photo via NASA)

This P-63 served as a test aircraft with its manufacturer until January, 1945, when she transferred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of today’s NASA. The aircraft operated at Moffett Field on the grounds of the NACA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Her construction took place during the winter of 1944. Bell allocated her the construction number 33-11 (model 33, aircraft 11), and she rolled out of their Niagara Falls, NY factory, on February 24th, 1944, where the United States Army Air Force formally accepted the Kingcobra as a P-63A-6 with serial number 42-68941.

The P-63 captured on May 20, 2017 at the Military Aviation Museum. ( Photo by Chris Rose)
The P-63 captured on May 20th, 2017 at the Military Aviation Museum. (Photo by Chris Rose)

“Having the T-38 as part of this program completes the circle to tell the history of NASA,” said Connie Bowlin, President of EAA Warbirds of America, “because this Bell P-63, restored by the Dixie Wing of the CAF, was actually operated by NACA”.

Click HERE to check out the Warbirds in Review schedule.

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