"Teepee Airacobra" Makes Debut

Bell TP-39 Airacobra (the "T" stands for two-place) developed for transition training. While not the first modihcation to provide instructor's seat in fighter craft, "Teepee" differs in that full extra set of controls and simplified instrument panel are included. Since engine is located just aft of pilot's cabin, extra seat had to be placed forward, which required removal of 37-mm cannon, fuselage machine guns, and cowling. To maintain directional stability with extended cabin, dorsal fin was enlarged and small auxiliary fin was attached to fuselage bottom. Trainer model is interchangeable with production P-39, which can be transformed to trainer by installation of special kit of parts which can he made up and shipped anywhere. Photo shows special insignia developed for TP version.

This news clip was originally published in the December, 1943, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 42, no 12, p 230.
Photos are not credited.