P-26 Mini in Action (Mini Number 1602)
By Larry Davis, J. Sewell
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1994 50 Pages
PDF 5 MB
The Boeing P-26, commonly known as the Peashooter, was the first mass produced monoplane fighter aircraft built by a U.S. manufacturer. It was also the last open cockpit, fixed landing gear, externally braced pursuit to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The P-26 had a reasonably short operational life, only about eight and a half years, but it would become one of the best known and loved aircraft of the pre-war era.
The P-26 was the second mass-produced pursuit plane built by the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle, Washington. Buoyed by sales of the superb P-I2/F4B biplane pursuit aircraft. Boeing's engineers set out to design and build the first monoplane pursuit aircraft for the U.S. military. Boeing already had experience in the field of monoplanes with the Army XP-9 and the model 200 Monomail, both of which were completed in the late 1920s. Although the Army was very interested in the Boeing monoplane proposals, budget constraints and military politics held up funding for the project. Two Boeing monoplane proposals, the models 224 and 245, were both rejected while still on paper. Boeing did go ahead with monoplane development, successfully selling the Y1B-9 to the Army, and various Monomail types to the airline industry.
Sales of those two types, plus continuing development and sales of the P-12/F4B kept the new military pursuit project going. In September of 1931. Boeing engineers set down on paper the basic drawings of the model 248. The Army liked what it saw. but still had no money for the project. Army and Boeing came to a mutual agreement, Boeing would design and build three model 248 prototype airframes, and Army would loan Boeing the necessary equipment to get the project off the ground. That equipment included the power plant, propeller, instruments, radio, and other military hardware necessary to complete the project. Boeing and the Army signed an agreement on 5 December 1931 to build three prototype aircraft under the Army designation XP-936.