Boeing P-29 / XF7B-1

1st Flight 1934

The Boeing P-29 and XF7B-1 were an attempt to produce a more advanced version of the highly successful P-26.

Although slight gains were made in performance, the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Navy did not order the aircraft.

The airplane made its maiden flight on 20 January 1934 and was flown to Wright Field for Army testing under the experimental military designation XP-940 five days later.

Upon completion of testing of the XP-940, the Army decided on 29 June 1934 to purchase it and two sister ships

The designation P-29 was assigned.

After the modified XP-940 was returned to the Army in April 1934, it was assigned the designation YP-29A (serial number 34-24).

It eventually was redesignated the P-29A after an engine change to an R-1340-27 in place of the -35.

The cleaner design of the P-29A resulted in a speed increase of 16 mph over the P-26A, but its greater weight cut down on the aircraft’s ceiling and manoeuvrability.

Consequently, the Army cancelled an intended P-29A order.

The three prototypes were subsequently used strictly for experimental purposes.

The second prototype was completed with a large and roomy glasshouse enclosure around the cockpit and, in addition, the tail wheel was housed in a different fairing.

Other changes included an R-1340-35 enclosed in an anti-drag ring.

The aircraft was delivered to the Army on 4 September 1934 under the designation YP-29 with serial number 34-23.

Despite its earlier Army designation and serial number, it was actually the second Model 264 to fly. During tests, the following data was obtained: Weights were 2509 lbs. empty, 3518 lbs. gross.

Maximum speed was 244 mph at 10,000 ft. Initial climb was 1,600 ft per minute. Service ceiling was 26,000 ft, and absolute ceiling was 26,700 ft. Range was 800 miles.

This new cockpit enclosure satisfied the requirement for pilot protection at 250 mph operating speeds.

Nevertheless, the landing speed of the YP-29 was considered too high for Army operational use and the YP-29 was returned to the factory for the installation of wing flaps.

Following service testing by the Army and Boeing, which included trials with controllable pitch propellers, the service test designation was dropped and changed to P-29 after the engine was changed to a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-39.

The third Model 264 was completed as the YP-29B with an open cockpit configuration similar to that of the YP-29A.

The only outward differences between it and the YP-29A were the addition of a one-piece wing flap similar to that of the YP-29, an additional one degree of dihedral in the wing, and an oleo tail wheel assembly similar to that of the YP-29.

The YP-29B was sent to Chanute Field in Illinois for service testing.

It was eventually redesignated P-29B, adding to the bewildering succession of designations for essentially the same model.

An additional variant with a 700 hp (520 kW) R-1535 (civil Twin Wasp Junior) was proposed, as the XP-32, but was never constructed.

Flying for the first time in September 1933, the XF7B-1 (BuNo 9378) was the first monoplane fighter to be tested by the U.S. Navy, although concerns over its high landing speed rendered it unsuitable for carrier operations.

All the P-29 and XF7B-1 aircraft were ultimately scrapped.

Specifications

Crew: 1

Length: 22 ft 7 in (6.89 m)

Wingspan: 31 ft 11 in (9.73 m)

Height: 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m)

Wing area: 213 ft² (19.8 m²)

Empty weight: 2,782 lb (1,265 kg)

Loaded weight: 3,651 lb (1,660 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-30 Wasp radial engine, 550 hp (410 kW)

Performance

Maximum speed: 233 mph (203 knots, 375 km/h)

Cruise speed: 200 mph (174 knots, 322 km/h)

Range: 750 mi (652 nmi, 1,207 km)

Service ceiling: 29,200 ft (8,900 m)

Armament

Guns: 2× .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns.

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