Boeing P-26 Peashooter was the United States’ first all-metal fighter,and it was also the first monoplane fitted to the United States Army Air Corps.
At the time of its creation, the Boeing Р-26 fighter, nicknamed the Peashooter, was a very promising vehicle – the world’s first all-metal fighter with a smooth duralumin lining and a monocoque fuselage.
March 20, 1932, the plane took off for the first time. A total of 151 units were produced. Born at a time of the aerospace boom, the P-26 was quickly overtaken by newer fighters. The advantages of the P-26 diminish, and its disadvantages became vulnerabilities. By the time of World War II, the P-26 was hopelessly obsolete.
The P-26 had a typical 1930s design. Like all fighters of its time, it had no pilot armor but was instead upgraded with self-sealing fuel tanks. The pilot, engine, and fuel were centrally located. The pilot sat in an open cockpit in the middle of the fuselage, giving him a good view over the nose and wings. A headrest was set behind the pilot and protruded from the dorsal spine line. The excellent visibility from the cockpit made it easy for him to spot threats in aerial battles.
The tail was a combination of a large single vertical fin and two horizontal planes. The large, spatted main landing gear legs were set under each wing. The P-26’s simple design, with its fixed landing gear, made it less susceptible to damage, and easy to maintain.
The US single-seat fighter had an empty weight of 996 kg and Gross weight of 1,524 kg. It had a length of 7.19m, wingspan of 8.5m, height of 3m, and Wing area of 23 m2.
Peashooter was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-27 Wasp 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, providing 600 horsepower, transmission to a 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller.
The P-26 could reach a top speed of 377 km/h, the combat range was 580 km, the service ceiling was 8,400 m, and the climbing rate was 3.65 m/s. At the time of its birth, the P-26 was one of the fastest fighters in the world.