Boeing XP-15 (Model 202)

The Boeing XP-15 (Model 202) was a parasol wing fighter designed as a private venture at a time when Boeing was also working on more radical designs. Two examples were built, one for the army and one for the US Navy (the XF5B-1/ Model 205), but neither was accepted for service.

During the 1920s Boeing had produced a series of biplane fighters for the US Navy, but by the end of the decade attention had moved onto the monoplane. In May 1928 Boeing began work on the shoulder-winged XP-9 (Model 96), and the company also produced an excellent monoplane mail plane, the Model 200 Monomail, but in 1929 the company also decided to produce a less advanced fighter design, starting from the basis of their existing fighters.

The original plan was to modify the Model 89 - the second prototype for the FB4/ P-12 series. The plan was to delete the lower wing to produce a parasol wing fighter. The wing would be moved back and support struts would be added to connect the wing to the fuselage. This aircraft, the Model 97, was never built.

This plan was then abandoned in favour of a new design based on the general construction methods and fuselage of the XP-9. Boeing had decided to reserve Model Numbers 103 to 199 for aerofoil sections and so the new design became the Model 202. The new aircraft had a semi-monocoque fuselage behind the main undercarriage, built with dural formers, longitudinal stiffeners and a non-stressed dural skin. The forward part of the fuselage was made from a welded steel tube frame covered with removable access panels and the engine cowling. The wing was similar to the upper wing of the P-12, but with dural spars and ribs and a non-stressed dural ski in place of the wood and fabric of the biplane.

The Model 202 was powered by a 450hp Pratt & Whitney SR-1340D Wasp and was armed with two 0.3in machine guns. It made its maiden flight in January 1930 and on 10 March 1930 was accepted for the trials by the Air Corps. It was given the XP-15 designation during these trials. The new aircraft had a higher top speed than the P-12B, but a lower rate of climb, was less manoeuvrable and had an increased landing speed. During the trials a ring cowling and a modified tail were both installed but without success.

The Model 202 was returned to Boeing, but crashed on 7 February 1931 at the south-west corner of Seattle after a propeller blade failed during a vertical climb that directly followed a high speed run. The vibration shook the engine out of the aircraft. Neither the Model 202 nor the Naval XF5B-1 (Model 205) entered production, but some features from the design were used in later versions of the P-12 and the F4B, in particular the semi-monocoque fuselage.

Engine: Pratt & Whitney SR-1340D Wasp
Power: 450hp at 8,000ft
Crew: 1
Span: 30ft 6in
Length: 21ft
Height: 9ft 4in
Empty Weight: 2,052lb
Gross Weight: 2,746lb
Maximum Speed: 163mph at sea level, 190mph at 8,000ft
Cruising Speed: 160mph at 8,000ft
Climb rate: 1,800ft/ min at 8,000ft
Ceiling: 26,550ft
Range: 421 miles
Guns: Two 0.3in machine guns
Bomb load: -

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 August 2014), Boeing XP-15 (Model 202) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_boeing_XP-15.html

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