Bell XP-83 (Anigrand, Resin)

TYPE: Long range escort fighter


POWER PLANT: Two General Electric J33-GE 5 turbojets, rated at 1,835 kp each

PERFORMANCE: 522 mph at 15,700 ft

COMMENT: The Bell XP-83 was a United States prototype escort fighter designed by Bell Aircraft  during World War II. It first flew in 1945. As an early jet fighter, its limitations included a lack of power and it was soon eclipsed by more advanced designs. The early jet fighters consumed fuel at a prodigious rate which severely limited their range and endurance.
In March 1944, the United States Army Air Forces requested Bell to design a fighter with increased endurance and formally awarded a contract for two prototypes on 31 July 1944.Bell had been working on its “Model 40” interceptor design since 1943. It was redesigned as a long-range escort fighter while retaining the general layout of the Bell P-59 Airacomet. The two General Electric-GE-5 turbojet engines were located in each wing root which left the large and bulky fuselage free for fuel tanks and armament. The fuselage was an all-metal semimonocoque capable of carrying 4,350 l of fuel. In addition, two 950 l drop tanks could be carried. The cabin was pressurized and used a small and low bubble style canopy. The armament was to be six 12.7 mm machine guns in the nose.
Early wind tunnel reports had pinpointed directional instability but the “fix” of a larger tail would not be ready in time for flight testing. The first prototype was flown on 25 February 1945, demonstrating that the aicraft was under-powered and unstable. The limited flight testing provided satisfactory flight characteristics although spins were restricted until the larger tail fin was installed. The second prototype did incorporate the extended tail and an aileron boost system. One unique characteristic was the XP-83’s refusal to slow down due to its sleek aerodynamic shape and lack of drag brakes. This meant that test pilots were forced to fly “stabilized approaches” (i.e. very long and flat landing approaches).
The first prototype was used in 1946 as a ramjet test-bed with an engineer’s station located in the fuselage behind the pilot. The second prototype flew on 19 October and was later scrapped in 1947. Apart from range, the XP-83 was inferior to the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star and this led to the cancellation of the XP-83 project in 1947 (Ref.: 24).