Trivia Teaser: Go Ahead, Make Your Day

True or False: America actually had a designated airplane the sole function of which was to be shot at. Oh, and it wasn’t a drone; it was manned, with a live (and possibly not always quite enthusiastically willing) pilot.

It’s absolutely true. About 300 Bell RP-63A Kingcobras were built during WW II. Although its armor was removed, it had an extra layer of about 1,500 pounds of duraluminum, a bulletproof glass canopy, a thick-walled propeller, and a steel grille over the air intake and exhaust. They were usually painted bright orange to improve visibility. (The practicing gunnery pilots did use frangible bullets, however.)