Boeing P-12/ F4B was an American pursuit aircraft that was operated by the United States Army Air Corps and United States Navy.
Design and development [ edit ]
Boeing developed the aircraft as a private venture to replace the
Boeing F3B and Boeing F2B with the United States Navy, the first flight of the P-12 took place on 25 June 1928. The new aircraft was smaller, lighter and more agile than the ones it replaced but still used the Wasp engine of the F3B. This resulted in a higher top speed and overall better performance. As result of Navy evaluation 27 were ordered as the F4B-1, later evaluation by the United States Army Air Corps resulted in orders with the designation P-12. Boeing supplied the USAAC with 366 P-12s between 1929 and 1932. Production of all variants totalled 586.
Operational history [ edit ]
P-12s were flown by the 17th Pursuit Group (34th, 73rd, and 95th Pursuit Squadrons) at
March Field, California, and the 20th Pursuit Group (55th, 77th and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Older P-12s were used by groups overseas: the 4th Composite Group (3rd Pursuit Squadron) in the Philippines, the 16th Pursuit Group (24th, 29th, 74th, and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) in the Canal Zone, and the 18th Pursuit Group (6th and 19th Pursuit Squadrons) in Hawaii.
The P-12 remained in service with first-line pursuit groups until replaced by
Boeing P-26s in 1934–1935. Survivors were relegated to training duties until 1941, when most were grounded and assigned to mechanic's schools.
Production History [ edit ]
The production runs are shown below with the P-12 designations for Army aircraft and the F4B designations being for the Navy. The remaining aircraft are civilian or export.
NACA cowl, shorter gear, larger wheels
ring cowl, spread-bar undercarriage
semi-monocoque metal fuselage, redesigned vertical tail, some with tailwheels replacing skids
split axle landing gear, ventral bomb rack
spreader bar landing gear, frise ailerons, tailwheel replacing skid
semi-monocoque metal fuselage,
redesigned vertical tail, underwing racks (two 116 lb bombs), last 45 had mod. headrest w/life raft
(civilian version of F4B-1)
(F4B-4, export to Brazil)
(F4B-3 fuselage/P-12E wings, export to Brazil)
Variants [ edit ]
Boeing F4B-1 of
squadron (Navy version of P-12)
One prototype with spreader bar landing gear and 425 hp
Pratt & Whitney R-1340-8 engine, later designated XF4B-1 for Navy evaluation. Model 89
One prototype with split-axle undercarriage and provision for a 500 lb bomb on ventral rack, later designated XF4B-1 for
Navy evaluation. P-12
U.S. Army Air Corps version of the F4B-1 with a 450 hp R-1340-7 engine, nine built. XP-12A
10th built P-12 with NACA cowl a 525 hp R-1340-9 engine and shorter undercarriage, one built.
Model 102B, as P-12 with larger mainwheels and improvements tested on XP-12A, 90 built.
Model 222, as P-12B with ring cowl and spread-bar undercarriage, 96 built.
Model 234, as P-12C with a 525 hp R-1340-17 engine, 35 built.
Model 234, as P-12D with semi-monocoque metal fuselage, redesigned vertical tail surfaces, some were later fitted with tailwheels instead of skids, 110 built.
Model 251, as P-12E with a 600 hp R-1340-19 engine, 25 built.
P-12B modified with a R-1340-15 engine with side-type supercharger, one converted.
P-12D modified with a GISR-1340E experimental engine, one converted.
P-12E modified with a 575 hp R-1340-23 engine, and special bomb sight, one conversion.
P-12E and P-12J re-engined with a fuel injected SR-1340E engine, seven temporary conversions.
YP-12K temporary fitted with a F-2 supercharger, one converted.
designation for proposed use of P-12 as a radio-controlled target drone (cancelled)
Designation given to two prototypes for
Navy evaluation, the former Model 83 and the former Model 89. [3 ] F4B-1
Boeing Model 99 for the
United States Navy, split axle landing gear and ventral bomb rack, 27 built. [4 ] F4B-1A
One F4B-1 converted to unarmed executive transport for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, fuel tank moved to upper wing centre section.
[5 ] F4B-2
Boeing Model 223, spreader bar landing gear, frise ailerons, tailwheel replacing skid, 46 built.
[6 ] F4B-3
Boeing Model 235, as F4B-2 but with semi-monocoque metal fuselage and equipment changes, 21 built.
[7 ] F4B-4
Boeing Model 235, as F4B-3 but with redesigned vertical tail surfaces, 550 hp R-1340-16 engine, underwing racks for two 116 lb bombs, last 45 built had an enlarged headrest housing a life raft, 92 built and one built from spares.
[8 ] F4B-4A
23 assorted P-12 aircraft transferred from USAAC for use as a radio-controlled target aircraft.
[9 ] Model 100
Civil version of the F4B-1, four built.
[10 ] Model 100A
Two-seat civil version for
Howard Hughes, later converted to a single-seater, one built. [11 ] Model 100D
One Model 100 temporary used as a P-12 demonstrator.
[12 ] Model 100E
Export version of the P-12E for the Siamese Air Force, two built, one later transferred to the Japanese Navy under the designation
AXB. [13 ] Model 100F
One civil variant of the P-12F sold to Pratt & Whitney as an engine test bed.
[14 ] Model 218
Prototype of the P-12E/F4B-3 variant, after evaluation sold to the Chinese Air Force.
[15 ] Model 256
Export version of the F4B-4 for
Brazilian Navy, 14 built. [16 ] Model 267
Export version for Brazil with an F4B-3 fuselage and P-12E wings, nine built.
Operators [ edit ]
Aircraft on display [ edit ]
A surviving P-12E is on display at the
National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. A P-12E, marked as an F4B-1, is on display at the
Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. The aircraft is in flyable condition, although it hasn't been flown for a number of years. An F4B-4 is on display in the "Sea-Air Operations" Gallery at the
National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. One of the four Model 100s is displayed at
Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, United States A replica P-12B is on display at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville, Tennessee
An F4B-4 "Felix the cat" is displayed in the entrance hall of the
Honolulu International Airport A P-12F restored to look like an F4B-4 and painted with the markings of Fighting Squadron 6B "Felix the Cat" is on display at the
National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. A Model 100E on display at Royal Thai Air Force Museum,
Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base.
Specifications (P-12E) [ edit ]
Data from Bowers 1989
Guns: 2 x .30 inch (7.62 mm) Browning machine guns with 600 rounds per gun or 1 x .30 inch (7.62 mm) machine gun with 600 rounds and 1 x .50 inch (12.7 mm) machine gun with 200 rounds [19 ]
Bombs: 244 lb (111 kg) of bombs carried externally.
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
^ "Historical Listings: Brazil, (BRZ)."] World Air Forces. Retrieved: 19 May 2011.
^ "F4B." VF31.com. Retrieved: 10 June 2011.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 166.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 168.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 170.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 181.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 187–188.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 188–189.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 189–190.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 171–172.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 173–174.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 175.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 175–176.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 176.
^ Bowers, 1989. pp. 179–180.
^ Bowers 1989, pp. 192–193.
^ Bowers 1989, p. 193.
^ Angelucci 1983, p. 120.
^ Bowers, Peter M. The Boeing P-12E. London and Watford: Profile Publications. p. 4.
Bibliography [ edit ]
The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914–1980. San Diego, California: The Military Press, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41021-4. Baugher, Joe.
"Boeing P-12". American Military Aircraft, 6 June 1998. Retrieved: 10 June 2011.
Bowers, Peter M. Boeing Aircraft since 1916. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-804-6. Bowers, Peter M.
The Boeing P-12E. Number 2, Profile Publications
External links [ edit ]