Pre-WWII: The History & Heritage of the P-26A Peashooter

Pre-WWII: The History & Heritage of the P-26A Peashooter

The Peashooter marked both the beginning and end of numerous features in the evolution of fighter aircrafts (in the pre-AF years, fighters had a “P” designation or “pursuit”). It was the first all-metal monoplane and was much faster than older wood planes. However, it was the last fighter with an open cockpit, with a fixed landing gear, and external wing bracing. As this was an interwar plane, it saw almost no action from U.S. Forces. It was however used by some foreign military units in battle.

It came packing at Pratt and Whitney R-1340 “Wash” radial engine with 500 hp! It had either 2 .30-cal or one .50-cal machine guns and could carry 200lbs of bombs! It cruised at 199mph and topped out at 234 mph with a range of just 360 miles!

The one at the NMUSAF is one of only 5 that exists, although it is a replica. There are only two authentic remaining Peashooters, one at a museum in Chino, California and the other at the National Air and Space Museum in D.C.

19th Pursuit Squadron

The P-26A at the NMUSAF is modeled after the Commander’s P-26A of the 19th Pursuit Squadron, 18th Pursuit Group, stationed at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. These days the unit is known as the 19th Fighter Squadron out of Hickam AFB, Hawaii flying F-22s. The unit is one of the oldest in the USAF.

The P-26A Peashooter can be found in the Early Years Gallery of the NMUSAF.

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