Boeing F4B airplane model. One of the more beautiful airplanes from the Golden Era (early 1930s) was undoubtedly the Boeing F4B-4, the front-line high-tech Navy Pursuit Fighter and Bomber of the 1930s. For an airplane from that time, it was a streamline, purposeful and rugged design. The look of this airplane totally exemplifies the look of 1930 America along with Art Deco, The Rocketeer, and the Empire State Building. This fighter served in the US Army Air Corp, the Navy, and the Marines. Gregory (Pappy) Boyington flew the F4B-4 during his service with the Marines prior to his short stint with the AVG.
In 1928, the Boeing Airplane Company set out to build the top pursuit aircraft for both the US Air Corp and Navy/Marine air units. The result is the F4B-4. It is the final evolution of several revisions of the Model 83 and Model 89 airplane.
The Model 83 and Model 89 are essentially the same airplanes except for minor differences in landing gear and that Model 83 has an arresting hook. By the time the Model 83 was delivered to the Navy and the Model 89 was delivered to the Air Corp, the aircrafts were redesignated as XF4B-1 by the Navy and P-12 by the Air Corp. Both models were well received by the test pilots. The Establishments ordered full production. Foreign orders proved the aircrafts superiority to the world.
The F4B-4 was the final revision of the X models. It had larger vertical fin area, an enlarged headrest and faired rollover bar. The fairing contained a one-man rubber life-raft and emergency supplies. The engine was a 550 hp Pratt &, Whitney R-1340-16 Wasp radial air-cooled engine. A pair of 0.30 caliber machine guns in the cowl trench plus the capability to carry two 125 pounds under wing bombs complete the armament for this fighter bomber. The F4B-4 production totaled 92 aircraft.
The F4B-4 served the Navy from 1932 as their front-line fighter until the Grumman F2F/F3F series replaced them around 1938. While no longer the front-line aircraft, this type continued in the Reserve and Training units well into the beginnings of WWII.