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Dayton-Wright PS-1

Single-Seat Monoplane Interceptor Aircraft


Three examples, two being flyable, of the Dayton-Wright PS-1 monoplane interceptor were built to a USAAS interceptor requirement in the early 1920s.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Dayton-Wright PS-1 Single-Seat Monoplane Interceptor Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/7/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Dayton-Wright Company was founded during the fighting of World War 1 (1914-1918) in 1917 with Orville Wright not only lending his name to the venture but also serving as a consultant. The concern went on to have a short operational life for it was defunct as soon as 1923 with few aircraft to its name - including the equally-short-lived Dayton-Wright "PS-1" detailed below.

While the biplane-wing fighter form, proven in aerial combat during World War 1 (1914-1918), continued its dominance as the principle frontline attacker for military air services of the world, there were some aeronautical minds still attempting to develop a viable monoplane-winged alternative. The PS-1 attempted to fulfill the void but ultimately proved a disappointment for the United States Army Air Services (USAAS) (forerunner to the United States Air Force).

The PS-1's overall design was heavily influenced by Dayton-Wright's previous attempt at a streamlined racer, the one-off "RB-1" ("Rinehart-Bauman Model 1") single-seat, single-engine racer (also known as the "Dayton-Wright Racer"). This aircraft carried a cantilever wing arrangement and retractable main landing gear members - a mechanical system developed in-house by the Dayton-Wright Company in 1920. The aircraft gained some press but ultimately failed to impress for its short time in the air (its September 1920 racing attempt in France derailed by a cable failure).

One of the more unique qualities of this proposed interceptor was its manually-operated retracting undercarriage in which the main members were raised into the design after take-off and lowered for landing - this at a time when fixed undercarriage were still the norm. The unique undercarriage retraction system was controlled by the pilot and involved a chain-and-sprocket approach. Raising the main members took all of ten seconds while lowering them could be done in about six seconds. Both the RB-1 Racer and the PS-1 installed this system.

The aircraft was to have its monoplane wing assembly seated high on the fuselage, braced in place by a pair of struts running from the lower section of the aircraft's body.

The military derivative of the racer was, more or less, the "PS-1". The PS-1 differed in having an open-air cockpit in place of the racer's streamlined covered workspace and the cantilever wing mainplanes were replaced by a parasol-type arrangement. Power was from a Lawrence J-1 air-cooled radial of 200 horsepower (instead of the Hall-Scott L-6a of 250 horsepower) and used to drive a four-bladed wooden propeller at the nose. Ahead of the pilot's position were fitted the wing mainplanes but their position made for poor forward vision out-of-the-cockpit. Of particular note here is the mainplanes carried flaps at both its leading and trailing edges. The fuselage was stout, slab-sided, and of mixed construction - steel tubing used for the underlying framework, wood at all of the horizontal wing sections, and fabric skinning across the fuselage and at the vertical tail plane.

Dimensional specifications included a wing span of 30 feet, an overall length of 19.1 feet, and a height of 7 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) reached approximately 1,720 lb. Maximum achievable speed was 146 miles per hour with a useful range out to 235 miles.

Dayton-Wright developed its PS-1 to a USAAS requirement, "Pursuit Alert (Special)", seeking a quick-reaction interceptor armed with 2 x 7.62mm Browning air-cooled machine guns. The service eventually contracted for three prototypes to be operated in flight trials under the "XPS-1" designation in June of 1921. The first prototype was set aside as a static test article.

It was quickly found in November of 1922 that the design was unsatisfactory for USAAC officials which requested a reworking of the undercarriage and lower forward fuselage section. The second prototype was completed with most of the changes in place and this example went to the air for the first time in July of 1923 but failed to impress. Mounting disappointments in the program ultimately led to its quick demise with the two flyable forms ending their days in storage at McCook Field (Ohio). No more is known of this aircraft line beyond April 1926.


YEAR: 1923
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Dayton-Wright - USA
LENGTH: 19.19 ft (5.85 m)
WIDTH: 30.02 ft (9.15 m)
HEIGHT: 22.97 ft (7 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 1,213 lb (550 kg)
MTOW: 1,720 lb (780 kg)
POWER: 1 x Lawrence J-1 air-cooled radial piston engine of 200 horsepower driving a four-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
SPEED: 146 mph (235 kph; 127 kts)
RANGE: 146 miles (235 km; 127 nm)
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)

LIKELY (Never Fitted):
2 x 7.62mm Browning air-cooled machine guns.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants / Models

• PS-1 - Base Series Designation
• XPS-1 - Prototype model designation; three completed with two flyable and one reserved as static test article.

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (146mph).

Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Dayton-Wright PS-1's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (3)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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