Boeing P-26 Peashooter Monoplane Fighter Aircraft
The Boeing P-26 Peashooter monoplane fighter became the first all-metal aircraft design for the United States of America.
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The P-26 became the first all-metal fighter design for the United States. Appearing similar to the later "Gee Bee" series of racers, the P-26 replaced the P-12 to which the newer P-26 outclassed in nearly every way.
The P-26 was of an open cockpit monoplane design with a static undercarriage. The pilot had nothing but a small windscreen protecting his face and a protruding headrest protecting the head. The cockpit area sat forward of center, just above the large covered landing gears. The P-26 Peashooter was armed with twin 7.62mm machine guns firing through a synchronized propeller system.
At the time, the P-26 was one of the faster fighters available to US units in 1934. With the first prototype appearing just a mere 9 weeks after design, the system was a stepping stone towards more unique and local fighter design for the Americans.
China and Guatemalan forces both utilized the P-26 Shooter with the former against invading Japanese forces and the latter for its first ever air force group. With the condition of most of the foreign airfields of the time and the fast landing speed required of the aircraft, Boeing instituted additional landing flaps to slow the aircraft down upon final arrival.
In the end, the P-26 remained a successful fighter design capable of fulfilling the requirements of the time. The system was removed from service worldwide as late as 1955 - a testament to proper fighter engineering.