Hobby Master HA7504 USAAF Boeing P-26A Peashooter Fighter - 30-49, "Last USAAF Peashooter", Guatemala, 1943 (1:48 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
The American Boeing P-26, nicknamed the "Peashooter", was the first all-metal production fighter aircraft and the first pursuit monoplane used by the United States Army Air Corps. The prototype first flew in 1932, and were used by the Air Corps as late as 1941 in the Philippines.
The Boeing-funded project to produce the Boeing Model 248 began in September 1931, with the Army Air Corps supplying engines and instruments. The design included an open cockpit, fixed landing gear and externally braced wings, the last such design procured by the USAAC as a fighter plane. It also saw the introduction of flaps to reduce speeds for landings. The Army Air Corps contracted for three prototypes, designated XP-936, with the first flight on March 20th, 1932.
The Boeing XP-936 had a landing problem. Sometimes when landing it would flip forward and because of the short nose it would roll onto its back. This injured many pilots until the unarmored back canopy was replaced with an armored headrest. An additional 25 aircraft were completed as P-26Bs, with Pratt & Whitney R-1340-33 Wasp engines, and 23 P-26Cs had minor changes to carburation and the fuel system. Both Spain (one fighter) and China (11 fighters) ordered the Model 281 export version of the P-26C in 1936.
The diminutive "Peashooter" as it became affectionately known by service pilots, was faster than previous American combat aircraft, but it was also an anachronism. Although the P-26 introduced a modern monoplane design, worldwide fighter aircraft developments soon outstripped the P-26. In Europe the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Hawker Hurricane with closed cockpits and which both flew for the first time in 1935 were more representative of contemporary monoplane fighter designs. However, the P-26 was easy to fly and remained in active service for many years until the United States entered World War II.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale Boeing P-26A Peashooter fighter that represents the last USAAF Peashooter to serve with the USAAF, which operated out of Guatemala during 1943. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: January 2010
Historical Account: "Last of a Breed" - The P-26 had already become obsolescent and been taken out of front line service by the USAAF in 1942. There were, however, P-26s which were still flying until 1957 with Guatemala's Air Force, having been kept in service since the early 1940s.