Kingcobra ‘Fatal Fang’ returns to Californian skies

Bell P-63 Fatal Fang is flying again in the US following a thorough restoration

Bell P-63A-7-BE Kingcobra N94501 Fatal Fang made a successful return to the air on December 1, 2023, following many years of restoration work by the Chino, California-based Yanks Air Museum.

Originally delivered to the US Army Air Forces as 42-69080 in World War Two, the aircraft ended up with the Cal Aero Technical Institute at Glendale, California in 1950, initially operating with the civilian registration NX332750. 

Bell P-63A Kingcobra 'Fatal Fang' gets airborne
Bell P-63A Kingcobra 'Fatal Fang' gets airborne Frank B Mormillo

Acquired by Planes of Fame Air Museum founder Edward T Maloney in 1953, the Kingcobra was displayed in several museums before finally being acquired by Yankee Air Corps (now known as Yanks Air Museum) founder Charles Nichols on September 2, 1977. 

Bell P-63A Kingcobra N94501 flying from Chino on January 13
Bell P-63A Kingcobra N94501 flying from Chino on January 13 Frank B Mormillo

Although restoration to flying condition began as far back as 1979, the aircraft remained primarily a static exhibit in the Yanks Air Museum with the name Fatal Fang until the restoration project began to receive more serious attention in 2021. Frank B Mormillo

A magnificent restoration – ‘Fatal Fang’ at Chino
A magnificent restoration – ‘Fatal Fang’ at Chino Frank B Mormillo
A view of the distinctive nose-art
A view of the distinctive nose-art Frank B Mormillo