Hobby Master HA7506 USAAC Boeing P-26A Peashooter Fighter - 20th Pursuit Group, Barksdale Field, 1930s (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 replica of a Boeing P-26A Peashooter fighter that was deployed to Barksdale Field during the 1930s.
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: July 2011
Historical Account: "Bursting their Balloons" - The 20th Pursuit Group was authorized on the inactive list as the 20th Balloon Group on October 18th, 1927, and redesignated as the 20th Pursuit Group in 1929. It was then activated on November 15th, 1930. Later on, it was redesignated as the 20th Pursuit Group (Fighter) in 1939, the 20th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in 1941, and the 20th Fighter Group in 1942. It was equipped successively with the P-12, P-16, and P-36 aircraft prior to World War II; used P-39's and P-40's during the early part of the war; and converted to P-38's in January 1943. It trained, participated in maneuvers and tactical exercises, and took part in aerial reviews and demonstrations during the period 1930-1939. The unit provided personnel for and helped to train new units during 1940-1941. It served as an air defense organization after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harborm and began intensive training late in 1942 for combat duty overseas.