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Thu, Nov 09, 2023

Spirit of Flight Museum Acquires Rare Boeing P-26 Peashooter

Aircraft Currently Under Restoration

Nampa, Idaho’s Spirit of Flight Foundation museum has acquired a rare Boeing P-26 Peashooter.

Foundation president Gordon Page remarked: “Only two original P-26 fighters exist of the 151 that were built by Boeing. Three other reproduction/replicas exist, and one of the two P-26s that Tim and Gayla O-Connor were building is on the way to the Spirit of Flight.”

Occasioning a significant step in the evolution of fighter aircraft, Boeing’s P-26 was the first all-metal monoplane structure and last open cockpit fighter to be adopted by the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Over twenty-years ago, Tim and Gayla O’Connor of Golden Age Aeroplane Works ambitiously undertook the ground-up restorations of two P-26s. Provisioned with original structural and systems specifications from actual Boeing blueprints, the pair sought to build the two aircraft in perfect conformity to the specimens produced on Boeing’ assembly lines in the 1930s.

As with the originals, the reproductions were to be powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engines. Regrettably, Tim O’Connor passed away in 2020. Notwithstanding the substantial progress he and Gayla had made on the two P-26s, the partially-restored aircraft were relegated to storage.

Mr. Page stated: “Everyone I have met in my aviation career knows the P-26 Peashooter and probably played with a toy version as a kid. I know I did, and I have always loved the story of the little plane that bridged wooden biplanes to all-metal fighters of WWII.”

The two Golden Age Aeroplane Works P-26s are being carefully packed for shipping from Indiana to Legend Flyers on Everett, Washington’s Paine Field (PAE). Upon arriving in Washington State, the aircraft will be meticulously completed.

Currently, Legend Flyers is finalizing the restoration of a genuine Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero to airworthy condition.

Legend Flyers president set forth: “I have wanted to build a Boeing P-26 for forty-years. I have had an original set of plans and a model of the Peashooter sitting on my desk for a long time, and I guess now is the time I can finally build some.”

Legend Flyers owns one of the two P-26 Peashooters partially-restored by Tim and Gayla O’Connor, and will complete both it and the P-26 destined for the Spirit of Flight Foundation Museum.

Mr. Hammer added: “Hopefully we will see one in the air in the next few years. We are certainly going to do our best to finish what Tim and Gayla started.”

The CHASING PLANES YouTube channel featured the two P-26s as they were prepared for shipping. The video may be viewed at https://youtu.be/I9CrUzyrpKM .

The non-profit Spirit of Flight Foundation was founded in 1998 for purpose of acquiring, restoring, preserving, and displaying aviation history, and in so doing honoring American veterans and aviators. The organization endeavors to educate the general public vis-à-vis the significance of aviation to the world’s social and economic wellbeing, and inspire future generations to participate in and learn about both modern and historic aviation. The Spirit of Flight Foundation Museum features a collection of rare and vintage aircraft which includes a James Bond BD-5 jet, a 1947 Race Plane built by Art Chester, a 1937 Waco EGC-7, and a Radioplane target drone, built in the factory at which Marilyn Monroe was employed and discovered.

FMI: www.spiritofflight.com


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