Boeing F4B / P-12 Carrier-Borne / Pursuit Fighter
The F4B / P-12 pursuit fighter line became an important product for both Boeing and the United States military.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
In the latter half of the 1920s, Boeing undertook another private venture of a pursuit-minded military fighter in the Model 83. The type was intended as a direct successor to the original Boeing F2B and F3B pursuit fighter lines which were both adopted by the United States Navy in 1928. The new model was a revision of the classic designs though retaining the open-air cockpit, fixed undercarriage and biplane wing arrangement common to aircraft of the period. As a naval aircraft, the airframe was appropriately strengthened and given a tail hook for carrier deck landings. Performance was good as was handling which resulted in the model's adoption into the USN inventory as the "F4B". The initial model designation was F4B-1. The US Army Air Corps (USAAC) then followed suit and adopted the type in similar form (lacking USN-specified modifications) as the "P-12". The Boeing Model 89 served as the US Army base design and incorporated support for 1 x 500lb bomb. The sales of F4B/P-12 aircraft proved critical for the Boeing concern during The Great Depression period and a prototype achieved first flight on June 25th, 1928. This Boeing aircraft marked the last "wood-winged", biplane fighter to be accepted by the US military. Production spanned from 1929 into 1932 with the initial airframe received by the US Army Air Corps on February 26th, 1929.
The US Marine Corps also made use of the F4B platform through twenty-two examples of the "F4B-4". At least 92 of the -4 mark were built, making up a large portion of the available 187 F4Bs. In all, Boeing produced 586 examples.
Outwardly, the F4B/P-12 utilized the widely-accepted biplane configuration of the itme. The fuselage was well-streamlined with an open-air cockpit and raised fuselage spine. The wings were of near-equal span incorporating parallel struts with a supporting v-structure. The upper wing assembly was supported over the fuselage with a similar strut arrangement. The engine was housed in a forward compartment and drove a two-bladed metal propeller assembly. The undercarriage was fixed by way of a network of struts and managed a pair of landing wheels. The empennage included a short, rounded vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes. Dimensionally, the aircraft exhibited a wingspan of 30 feet with a length of 20 feet.