After a nearly twelve year effort by the Museum’s restoration volunteers, our Boeing P-26 “Peashooter” sits proudly on the gallery floor. This magnificent reproduction is painted in the colors of the 73rd Pursuit Squadron based at March Field in the early 1930’s. The P-26, for those who might not be familiar with the type, was the quintessential transition fighter incorporating both firsts and lasts in its design and construction. It was the Army’s first all metal construction fighter and its first monoplane. The open cockpit of the Peashooter would be the last of its type and the fixed gear would no longer be a standard feature, giving way to retractable gear in all subsequent Pursuit/Fighter types.
On the subject of fighters, our Vought F4U-7 Corsair is now near fully assembled at our Gillespie Field facility and ready for finish painting. The airplane has been modified somewhat to reflect the AU-1 type Corsair as deployed by the Marines in Korea. Squadron and aircraft markings will be those of the aircraft flown by former major league player and longtime San Diego Padres announcer Jerry Coleman. Coleman is deserving of the honor, having given up one of the more promising baseball careers in history to join his brothers in arms during both World War II and the Korean conflict.
Design and layout work continues on the Museum’s two latest construction projects, the Hughes H-1 Racer and the Bell X-1 rocket plane. These historically significant reproductions will add enormous impact to the collection when ultimately completed in approximately four years’ time. Expect to see regular updates as work progresses.