Bell XFL-1 cover imageClick to view on Steve Ginter Books

The Bell XFL-1 Airabonita was selected by the US Navy for flight evaluation in competition with the twin-engine Grumman F5F and the single-engine Chance Vought F4U Corsair. It was similar to, and developed in parallel with, the US Army’s land-based P-39 Airacobra, differing mainly in the use of a tail wheel undercarriage in place of the P-39’s tricycle gear and the changes required for carrier-based. Unlike its competitors, the Airabonita was powered by a liquid-cooled engine. It first flew on May 13, 1940. Only one was built and flown, BuNo 1588. It proved to be no match for the Corsair.

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