Developed by the Boeing Aircraft Co. at its own expense, the P-12 was became one of the most successful American fighters produced between the World Wars. Flown by both the Army and the Navy (as the F4B), the P-12 series consisted of an initial version and five additional models, B through F. The early versions used fabric-covered fuselages of bolted aluminum tubing, but the P-12E and F fuselages employed an all-metal, semimonocoque (stressed skin) construction. However, the P-12 did not complete the evolution into an all-metal aircraft because all variants had wooden wings with fabric covering.
The U.S. Army Air Corps received its first P-12 in February 1929 and the last P-12F in May 1932. The last of the biplane fighters flown by the Army, some P-12s remained in service until 1941. Boeing produced 366 P-12s for the Army, with more P-12Es built (110) than any other series.
The P-12E on display served with the 6th Pursuit Squadron in Hawaii during the 1930s, and the Army retired it in 1940. Marcellus Foose and Glen Courtwright of Oaklawn, Ill., donated it to the museum in 1973, and museum specialists completed restoration in 1983.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Two .30-cal. or one .30-cal. and one .50-cal. machine guns; 244 lbs. of bombs carried externally Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340-17 of 500 hp
Maximum speed: 189 mph Cruising speed: 160 mph Range: 570 miles Ceiling: 26,300 ft. Span: 30 ft. Length: 20 ft. 4 in. Height: 9 ft. Weight: 2,690 lbs. loaded Serial number: 31-559