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Boeing P-26 Peashooter

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The P-26 Peashooter would be the first all-metal monoplane production fighter to serve with the United States Army Air Corps. Forming the core of the United States based pursuit aircraft the Boeing P-26 Peashooter would spend fours years serving as a front line fighter.

Quick Facts
First flight
20th March 1932
Entered service
January 1934
Total built
136

Front view
Sorry, no view photo available
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Sorry, no view photo available

The P-26 began its life as the Boeing Model 248 in September 1931 and development on the aircraft was funded by Boeing themselves. Although the engines and instruments would be supplied by the United States Army Air Corps. Under the designation XP-936, three aircraft would be produced to undergo trials.

The first of these would fly on the 20th March 1932 and along with the second example, which was undergoing static tests, would go to Wright Field for evaluation. The final aircraft of the three would be sent to operational squadrons based at Selfridge Field, Michigan to undergo testing on the 25th April 1932. The United States Army Air Corps would go on to purchase these three aircraft and re-designate them to Y1P-26, before placing an order for 111 P-26s, which would be increased later on by a further 25 to a total of 136 aircraft.

With a speed of around 30 mph faster than bi-plane fighters and with the ability to outclimb them as well the P-26 would form the core of pursuit squadrons based in the United States. Although the increase in speed would see the Peashooter have a high landing speed. This was solved by fitting the aircraft with trailing-edge flaps, which were fitted to aircraft currently in production and retrospectively to one in service.

Deliveries of the P-26A to the United States Army Air Corps began in December 1933 with the production example making its first flight on the 10th January 1934. The production aircraft featured a number of improvements with radio now fitted and emergency floatation gear added. A new higher headrest in case of a roll-over accident was also fitted. By the end of June 1934 the initial 111 Peashooters ordered had been delivered. The further 25 aircraft that had been ordered would have fuel injected Pratt & Whitney WASP R-1340-33 engines fitted to them, with 23 having new controls fitted and known as P-26Cs.

The P-26 Peashooter would go on to spend four years as a front line fighter for the United States Army Air Corps before starting to be replaced by the Curtiss P-36 Hawk and Seversky P-35. Despite this fourteen examples were based at Pearl Harbour at the time of the Japanese attack.

The Peashooter would also be sold aboard with a sole example going to Spain and 11 to China and 31 to the Philippines. With both the Philippines and China using the type against the Japanese. A number of surplus P-26s would be used by a number of countries, including Guatemala.

An improved version of the P-26 was produced by Boeing and featured retractable undercarriage and an enclosed cockpit and was known as the YP-29, but this was not put into production. So only the original order of 136 Boeing P-26 Peashooter aircraft were produced.



Variants

Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Max Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
P-26A 234 mph 300 miles 27,400 ft two 0.30-in machine-guns
or one 0.30-in and one 0.50-in machine-gun
200lb bombs
P-26B Fitted with fuel injected Pratt & Whitney WASP R-1340-33 engine.
P-26C P-26Bs converted with new controls fitted.



Photos





On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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