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 classic American-originated Boeing P-26 "Peashooter" arrived between the wars and was a product of its time. America's first all-metal fighter, the design still carried several more traditional elements of a bygone era of flight such as an open-air cockpit and fixed, spatted tail-dragging undercarriage. The P-26 would be the last quantitative fighter of the United States to feature these throw-back elements as the shift to more modern systems was had heading into World War 2 (1939-1945).
The P-26 began as a private venture by Boeing with the Model 248. This specimen, designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 air-cooled radial piston engine, was brought to the attention of U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) authorities who became interested in the type back in September of 1931. In a short nine week period, a fully-flyable prototype (XP-936) was completed and first-flown on March 20th, 1932. Three prototypes eventually emerged for the program - all fitting the PW R-1340-21 "Wasp" radial.
The basic design incorporated low-mounted monoplane wings well-ahead of midships. The cockpit, too, was set ahead of midships with generally decent views over the nose and wings. A headrest was set behind the pilot and protruded from the dorsal spine line. The large radial engine sat ahead of the pilot and the tail incorporated a traditional single-finned arrangement. The large, spatted main landing gear legs were set under each wing. Performance from the engine was impressive for its time - allowing the aircraft to reach speeds of 227 miles per hour, much faster than anything available to the USAAC.