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Advent of the All-Metal Airplane

Boeing B-9 and Boeing P-26. U.S. Air Force photograph.

Boeing B-9 and Boeing P-26. U.S. Air Force photograph.

By the early 1930s, aircraft design and construction technology throughout the world had advanced to the point where it was possible to mass-produce all-metal airplanes. There had been an all-metal plane as early as World War I, but it was an exception. Most airplanes of the war period and the 1920s had been primarily of wood and fabric construction, although many later ones had tubular steel fuselage frameworks.

The Air Corps' first all-metal monoplane bomber was the Boeing B-9. Produced during 1932-1933, the B-9 was outclassed by its contemporary all-metal Martin B-10 and only seven were purchased. The Air Corps' first all-metal monoplane fighter was the Consolidated P-25 of 1933. Although only two were procured, the P-25 design was modified into the P-30, later redesignated the PB-2, of which 54 were purchased in 1935. The first all-metal fighter ordered in quantity was the Boeing P-26; 139 were purchased from 1932-1936.

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Related Fact Sheets
Martin B-10
Boeing P-26A
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