Chino Airshow 2006
Bell P-59 Aircomet

TGermany and Great Britain both had jet fighters in prototypes before the Americans even became involved in jet technology. Hap Arnold approached General Electric to build an engine based on the design from Frank Whittle in the UK. He then worked with Bell aircraft to build an airframe for the new engine. The new aircraft and engine combination was delivered to Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards AFB) on September 12, 1942. To maintain secrecy of the project, a dummy propeller was fixed to the front of the airplane while it was being towed around the field so as not to attract any undue attention. Testing proved that the engines were unreliable and performance was well below expectations. But the P-59 helped to pave the way for later, more successful jets like the P-80. From an original order of 80, only 30 aircraft were delivered before the contract was cancelled. This one now belongs to the Planes of Fame museum in Chino.

Chino Airshow, 2006 Index


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