The Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California is sending their Boeing P-26A Peashooter to England this July to take part in the Flying Legends air show over the weekend of July 12th/13th at Duxford, in Cambridgeshire. This ulra-rare fighter plane is one of only two originals in existence, and the only one flying.
Interestingly, the Peashooter was the world’s first all-metal fighter, and the first monoplane in the US Army Air Corps. Boeing built 151 of them between 1932 to 1936. The type first saw combat with the Chinese Air Force on August 15th 1937, when eight Peashooter’s engaged twenty Japanese “Claude” bombers. They shot down two bombers without loss. A handful of them were still flying with the Army Air Corps in the Philippines when the US entered WWII in December, 1941. Ed Maloney acquired this example, 33-123, from the Guatemalan Air Force in 1957. The Guatemalan’s had used the type from 1943 until its retirement in 1957. The only other original survivor, P-26A 33-135, is on display with the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum at their Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. They also acquired it from Guatemala in 1957. There are a half dozen faithful replicas in various stages of completion dotted around the USA at present, and although one of these has flown in recent years, none are currently active.
It is probably the first time that a P-26 has ever visited Europe, and it is bound to cause a stir at Flying Legends. The Fighter Collection, organizers of the hugely popular air show, based at Duxford have close ties to many of the established vintage aircraft collectors/collections in the USA. They often work to bring one of their more unusual overseas exhibits to be a part of the Flying Legends air show to keep it fresh each year. Flying Legends will be the only chance to see the Peashooter flying during her UK visit. According to the air show details, the Peashooter will fly a carefully scripted solo routine each day of the show, and sit on the Flight Line during the remainder to allow close viewing of the unusual monoplane.
The Fighter Collection has already confirmed the following additional aircraft will be participating in Flying Legends, but many more will surely be present as well, as it’s always the most prolific of the European warbird shows, featuring aircraft from across the continent.
- Charlies Heavies TBM Avenger
- Jan Friso Roozen Hurricane
- Mistral Warbirds P51D
- Morane Saulnier D-3801
- Zephyr Aviation Ltd P51D “Sharkmouth”
- The Fighter Collection Spitfire MkV, Spitfire MkXIV