Historical Snapshot

PW-9/FB Fighter

The Model 15 (PW-9) was the first successful Boeing-designed fighter and established the company as a major American builder of military aircraft.

Its internal bracing was arc-welded tubing rather than the spruce and wire used in older biplanes. However, it still had wooden spars and ribs. It was designated PW-9 (for “pursuit water-cooled design 9”) by the U.S. Army and designated FB-1 by the Navy.

Between 1923 and 1928, Boeing built 157 PW-9/FBs in different versions, as well as 77 derivatives as NBs (Navy training planes). The NBs were 4 feet (1.21 meters) longer than the PW-9/FBs and powered by either 180- or 200-horsepower engines. Boeing also sold five NBs to Peru.

    Technical Specifications

    First flight June 2, 1923
    Model number 15
    Classification Fighter
    Span 32 feet
    Length 23 feet 5 inches
    Gross weight 3,120 pounds
    Top speed 159.1 mph
    Cruising speed 142 mph
    Range 390 miles
    Ceiling 18,925 feet
    Power 435-horsepower Curtiss D-12 engine
    Accommodation 1 pilot
    Armament One .30-caliber machine gun and one .55-caliber machine gun or two .30-caliber machine guns, two 122-pound bombs