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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:24 pm 
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Posts: 256
Location: Schiedam, NL
I have a data plate that says:

Bell Aircraft
Model P-39C
Serial 40-2967
Engine V-1710-35
Date 10-20-40
Buffalo, N.Y. U.S.A.

Can someone give me more info on the P-39C or this strange plate?
Did the C model see combat, what happened to them? There are non in the registry. A photo would be nice...
The data plate looks untouched and also has the "radio call" plate for the cockpit panel, which I think is a nice detail. It was said to have come out of the Buffalo N.Y. plant after WWII.

This is what I found about the P-39C:
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p39_3.html
Quote:
The first P-39C (Ser No 40-2971) flew in January of 1941. The P-39C was almost identical to the YP-39, with the exception of the engine, which was a 1150 hp Allison V-1710-35 (E4). The production of the P-39C began in 1940.

The Army discovered almost immediately that the P-39C was not combat ready, since it lacked armor and self-sealing tanks. In the event, only twenty Airacobras were actually completed to C-standards--serial numbers 40-2971/2990.

So strange that this plate has 40-2967... that serial was never ordered...? :?

[url=http://www.warbird-hangar.com/e107/plugins/coppermine_menu/albums/uploads/Things/40-2967.jpg]The data plate
Image[/url]

[url=http://www.aeronautics.ru/archive/wwii/books/cockpit/Bell%20P-39Q%20Airacobra.jpg]P-39Q cockpit, "radio call" visible top right
Image[/url]

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Interesting that the seat belt in the lower photo is dated October 1957!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:58 pm 
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The P-39C model never saw combat. It was an early model that had 4 .30 caliber machine guns in the nose. It also didn't have a fin stabilizer on the tail. Which was the norm for the rest of the models....D,F,L,N,Q, ect. I'd say you have a very rare peice of aviation history there. I believe no P-39C's survive today.

Here is a picture of a P-39C. Note: There is no fin on the leading bottom edge of the tail.

Image

Photo credit goes to: http://www.planes-and-tanks.com/HangarC/bell.htm

Cheers,
Nathan


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:12 pm 
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40-2967 is listed here as being from a batch of Republic P-43A Lancers.

The mystery deepens!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:38 am
Posts: 385
Location: Adelaide
Simple answer is..............

Its a fake.
I mean the numbering not the plate. Its obviously a blank plate that has had the number etc added to try and recreate an id for an aircraft. As has been mentioned this US serial number belongs to a P-43 Lancer.

This is not the first time fake id plates have been on ebay. Buyer beware.


cheers


Digger


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:22 am 
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Location: Schiedam, NL
Well I kind of saw it coming. I knew the serial was not real.
Hopefully one day I'll be able to lay hands on an original data plate as I find the P-39 a very interesting airplane.
More info is always welcome.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:48 am 
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Location: Adelaide
Data Plates, as you have found out, are very expensive, especially original ones. There are heaps of museums, collectors and rebuilders etc looking for them either for display pieces or to add to the authenticity of what they already have. Sadly, some people have picked up on the memorabillia side of this and found a nice little niche market to exploit.

While I have nothing against anyone producing reproduction data plates or selling original plates in 'as found' condition I struggle to understand the mentality of those people who try to brush off obvious fakes as the reak thing.

Keep looking, you will find one and probably when you least expect it. They tend to pop up in some very unusual places and I always search wide on auction sites to include those items that are missed by the regular miliatria, WW2 etc categories.

cheers

Digger


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:58 am 
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While not a fighter type but interesting non the less I have an original data plate off of a GB-2 from WWII. Anyone interested? Kind of interesting in that it is a USAAF plate for a Navy bird with a serial number rasther than a bu #


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