The Boeing P-26 “Peashooter” was an all metal low mono-wing design first flown in 1932 for the United States.

Description

The wings were still braced with wire like biplanes instead of anchored with struts which made the airframe lighter and reduced overall drag.  The P-26 was the last fighter mass-produced by Boeing. [1]

History

During development it was designated the P-936 and was first flown on 10 March 1932. This design was heavily influenced by Boeing’s Monomail aircraft which had been in service since 1930.[2]

Initially the airframe development was funded by Boeing with the engine and instruments provided by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Three prototypes were built for testing.  The design of the P-936 created a high landing speed of around 82 mph which caused the Army Air Corps to call for retractable flaps on the wings for production models to produce drag and allow the aircraft to land at slower speeds of around 73 mph. [3]

Despite its speed the P-936 was designed as an open-cockpit fighter because many pilots of the time did not like being enclosed inside a canopy and felt more comfortable in the open cockpit design. The design of the cockpit was influenced for production models by the death of a test pilot who crash landed upside down and breaking his neck. Bi-planes had a built in form of protection from this type of injury with the upper wing being between the pilot and ground in the case of an inverted landing. Because of this the production model cockpit was set 8 inches higher and had a roll bar behind the pilot’s head creating the distinctive humpback feature the P-26 is known for. [4]

References

  1. Guttman, Robert. Aviation History. Jul. 96, Vol. 6 Issue 6, Page 22
  2. "Boeing P-26 Peashooter." The Aviation History Online Museum. http://www.aviation-history.com/boeing/p26.html.
  3. Guttman, Robert. Aviation History. Jul. 96, Vol. 6 Issue 6, Page 22
  4. Guttman, Robert. Aviation History. Jul. 96, Vol. 6 Issue 6, Page 22


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