Bell XF3L KingBonita

In 1941 the US Navy took delivery of the Bell XFL-1 Airabonita, a navalized version of the Bell P-39 Airacobra. This was tested by the US Navy and it was quickly concluded that the conversion of the Airacobra to naval use was not a success.

The Bell company kept trying to win US Navy orders though and in 1942 it proposed a navalized P-63 KingCobra to the Navy. This aircraft was based on the P-63A which was then tested by the USAAF.

Like the XFL the XF3L as it was called was converted to a traditional conventional tail-wheel undercarriage. An arrester hook was fitted under the tail but no further modifications were done. The XF3L prototype was delivered to the US Navy in November 1943 and tested on board the USS Ranger.

Although it offered no great improvement over the F6F Hellcat then entering service a batch of 100 XF3L-1 fighters was ordered as the KingBonita. These were delivered in 1944 and the aircraft entered operational service at the end of that year.

As stated their performance was no better than the Grumman F6F Hellcat and no further orders were issued for the F3L. The type was taken out of operational service in June 1945. All airframes were scrapped.


The model

The model is a conversion of the MPM Bell P-63 kit.

Last updated: 06/02/2011