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  P-39Q Airacobra Serial Number ?  
5th AF

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Ray Fairfield 1965

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U.S. Army, serial number unknown. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
Sometime after late 1943 or during 1944, this Airacobra took off from Port Moresby and crashed near Lea Lea. Pilot, date and squadron details unknown, likely a training accident, bad weather or due to mechanical failure.

The wreckage of this Airacobra was located on the northern side of the Lea Lea Road. Until the late 1960s, scattered wreckage remained including one wing, the Allison engine, 37mm cannon, propeller, tail and one of the cockpit doors.

Ray Fairfield visited the wreckage in 1965:
"There was a road running north towards Lea Lea. There is, or was, a track leading off this east into the ridges. Still on the flat ground was the P-39Q. Assumed to be shot down, one door unaccounted for so maybe he got out. I had a data plate from this, punched the rivets out with a .22 pistol, but must have passed it on to someone. As you can see the wreckage was in a bad way, and I don't remember battle damage. Battle damage doesn't produce neat little groups of holes. I've noted my print as 'P-39Q' so I would have got that from the data plate I had. The throttle had been closed, see state of the prop, and one door missing, indicating bail-out. In that area a belly-landing would be preferable to bailiing out given an engine failing."

Thanks to Ray Fairfield for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018


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