Boeing P-26 Peashooter

Boeing P-26 Peashooter. A Golden Age Classic

Boeing P-26

Boeing's P-26 was a milestone in aircraft development.It was the first U.S. Army Air Corps fighter to incorporate several important design features that would become standard on aircraft used in World War II.The P-26 embodied the transition from wood and fabric fighter planes of World War I to the fast, all metal mono planes of World War II.The Peashooter was to be the last fighter aircraft to be mass-produced by Boeing before the company went on to bigger and better things, in both a figurative and the literal sense.The company that would later become Boeing Aviation was founded in 1916 by William Edward Boeing. With Boeing's reputation for building large aircraft. It is often forgotten that that Boeing was ever in the fighter business.

The P-26A was the first all-metal monoplane fighter produced for the U.S. Army Air Corps, affectionately called the "Peashooter" by its pilots. It was the last Army Air Corps pursuit aircraft accepted with an open cockpit, a fixed undercarriage, and an externally braced wing. Significantly faster in level flight than previous fighters, the P-26A's relatively high landing speed caused the introduction of landing flaps to reduce this speed.

Boeing initially designed the P-26 in 1931, designating it first as Model 248 and in December 1931 as the XP-936. The company provided three test airframes, which remained Boeing property, with the frugal Air corps providing the engines, instruments, and other equipment. The first flight occurred on March 20, 1932. the Army Air Corps purchased the three prototypes and designated tham as P-26s. The Air Corps purchased a total of 111 of the production version, designating them as P-26A, and 25 of later -B and -C models.

The P-26 was the Army Air Corps frontline fighter before it was replaced during 1938-40 by the Curtiss P-36A and the Seversky P-35. An export version was sold to China in 1934 where it was used against the Japanese. It was also used by the Philippine government against the Japanese in December 1941 when all were destroyed in combat.

The P-26 information on this page came from the USAF Museum website and from R. Guttman in Aviation History.

Span: 27 ft. 11.5 in.
Length: 23 ft. 10 in.
Height: 10 ft. 5 in.
Weight: 2,197 lbs. empty/2,955 lbs. (max.)
Armament: Two fixed .30 caliber machine guns or one .50 and one .30 caliber machine gun; up to 200 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Pratt and Whitney R1340-27 of 500 hp.
Crew: One
Cost: $16,567

Max. speed: 234 mph/203 knots
Cruising speed: 199 mph./172 knots
Range: 360 statute miles/313 nautical miles
Service ceiling: 27,400 ft.


The P-26A of 1934 changed pursuit styling.Inspite of it's exposed landing gear it could still fly 230 miles an hour.


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