1997 32¢ Ford Tri-Motor
Classic American Aircraft
Issue Date: July 19, 1997
City: Dayton, OH
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
In the 21 years between the two World Wars aviation technology progressed at a remarkable pace. By the 1930s the biplane had become obsolete, replaced by the speedy new monoplane. Utilizing improved concepts of fighter design, the monoplane achieved a new level of high performance.
This change – from biplane to the monoplane – was marked in 1934 by the entry into service of the Boeing P-26. Nicknamed the “Peashooter,” because of its bulbous lines and its stubby radial engine, the P-26 was the result of close collaboration between Boeing and the U.S. Army. The prototype made its first flight in 1932, and although the P-26 retained an open cockpit, wire-braced wings, and a fixed undercarriage, it was a major step forward in airplane construction. For it was the first plane to feature an all-metal construction, as well as monoplane wings.
With modifications and larger engines, the Peashooter went into service at the beginning of 1934, making the U.S. Air Corps one of the first air forces to use monoplane fighters. For almost five years it represented the front-line equipment of fighter units. And when World War II erupted, about a dozen P-26s were thrown into battle. One of them brought down one of the first Japanese aircraft of the war.