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  P-400 Airacobra Serial Number BX146 Tail 213
5th AF
35th FG
41st FS

Former Assignment
8th FG
80th FS

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Jessie Hague c1942
Pilot  2nd Lt George T. Helveston, O-432247 (survived) Rusk County, TX
Crashed  September 1, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) as P-400 Airacobra serial number BX146 and painted in a three-color camouflage scheme. Instead, delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), 80th Fighter Squadron (80th FS) "The Headhunters". Nose letter Q. No known nose art or nickname. Later assigned to the 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS) with tail number 213 painted in white or yellow.

Mission History
On September 1, 1942 took off from Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt George T. Helveston on a mission then bailed out and landed unhurt. His P-400 crashed near the river, roughly one mile from Durand Drome (17-Mile Drome) near Port Moresby. Officially, this aircraft was listed as surveyed January 24, 1944.

Helveston passed away on December 2, 1968 at age 48. He is buried at Tatum Cemetery in Tatum, TX.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George T. Helveston

Joe Baugher "Airacobra I for RAF, P-400"
FindAGrave - George Turner Helveston (grave photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
August 27, 2021


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