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Boeing P-26 Peashooter Monoplane Fighter (1932)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/15/2015

The first all-metal aircraft design for the United States of America.

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.

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Specifications for the
Boeing P-26 Peashooter
Monoplane Fighter

Focus Model: Boeing P-26A Peashooter
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Boeing Aircraft Corporation - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1932
Production Total: 151

Crew: 1

Length: 23.82 ft (7.26 m)
Width: 27.95 ft (8.52 m)
Height: 10.40ft (3.17 m)
Weight (Empty): 2,273 lb (1,031 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 3,012 lb (1,366 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x Pratt and Whitney nine-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 500 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 227 mph (365 kmh; 197 kts)
Maximum Range: 360 miles (579 km)
Service Ceiling: 27,395 ft (8,350 m; 5.2 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,360 feet-per-minute (719 m/min)

Hardpoints: 2
Armament Suite:
2 x 0.30 caliber Brownning M1919 machine guns OR 1 x 0.30 caliber with 1 x 0.50 caliber Browning Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).

2 x 100 lb conventional drop bombs OR 5 x 31 lb anti-personnel drop bombs.

P-26 "Peashooter" - Base Series Designation

XP-936 - Prototype aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-1340-21 "Wasp" radial piston engine of 525 horsepower; three produced.

P-26A - Initial production model; PW R-1340-27 engine of 600 horsepower fitted; 111 examples completed.

P-26B - Fitted with PW R-1340-33 fuel-injected engine of 600 horsepower; 2 examples produced.

P-26C - Fitted with PW R-1340-33 carburated engine with revised fuel delivery system; 23 examples completed.

Model 281 - Export variant of the P-26C production model; 12 complete with eleven examples to China and one to Spain.

China; Guatemala; Panama; Philippines; Spain; Taiwan; United States