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Bell YFM-1 Airacuda


The YFM-1 Airacuda (sometimes spelled Aerocuda) was developed as a bomber destroyer aircraft. The FM in YFM stands for 'Fighter Multiplace' and is an USAAC designation, not to be confused with the USN designation (as used on the FM-2 Wildcat). It was an interesting design in that it had two engines, each with rearward-facing propellers, and forward-facing gunner's positions in the front of each of the extended engine nacelles. The 37mm cannon in each of these positions were remotely controlled by an operator seated in the fuselage behind the pilot, though a gunner was stationed behind each gun as a loader and for manual backup.
According to Major Alexander De Seversky's 1942 book "Victory Through Air Power", the Bell Airacuda "represents a great engineering achievment. But its designation as 'convoy fighter' is erroneous, since that requires different disposition of armament. With its maximum firepower directed forward, it really offers a preview of an effective long-range interceptor fighter."
It was decided to build an experimental series of 13 aircraft, first of which was completed in September 1939. It was a revolutionary design that unfortunately was plagued by mechanical problems and poor performance. As a result the program ended without the Airacuda entering mass production.
General characteristics
Primary function Heavy escort fighter/bomber destroyer aircraft
Power plant Two Allison V-1710-13 (pusher config.) engines
Thrust 2x 1,133 HP 845 kW
Length 46 ft 14.0 m
Height 12.8 ft 3.9 m
Wingspan 70 ft 21.3 m
Wingarea 600 sq ft 55.8 sq m
Weight empty 11,464 lb 6,200 kg
max. 19,070 lb 8,650 kg
Speed cruis. 238 mph 383 km/h
max. 305 mph 490 km/h
Ceiling 32,000 ft 9,755 m
Range 1,790 miles 2,880 km
Armament 2x 37mm cannons, 2x 12.7mm machine guns, 2x 7.62mm machine guns, up to 146 kg of bombs or rockets
Crew Five
First flight September 1, 1939 (XFM-1)

Source: David Hanson´s American Aircraft of World War II

Jirka Wagner (If you find some photo, send it to me, please)

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017