The Early Years: 1927-1938

The Boeing Airplane Co. ... Metal Monomail

P-26 fighters flying in formation

As the aviation industry advanced, biplanes became obsolete. The first monoplanes rolled out of Boeing manufacturing facilities in 1930: the all-metal Monomail, designed to carry cargo and mail, and the single XP-9, the company's first monoplane fighter. The XP-9 led to the plucky P-26 "Peashooter" monoplane fighter that flew 27 mph faster than its biplane counterparts.

The sleek, low-wing Monomail was the most revolutionary commercial airplane of its time. In fact, it was too advanced for the current state of propeller design, and only two were built. By the time a controllable-pitch propeller was developed that could take best advantage of the Monomail's aerodynamics, its successor, the Model 247 airliner, was off the drawing board.

The Monomail paved the way for the company's development of large, multiengine aircraft, as did the first Boeing monoplane bomber, the B-9 bomber, shaped like a cigar and nicknamed the "Flying Panatela."

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