The Boeing Model 83 made its first flight on this day in aviation history in 1928. It was one of the prototypes that would evolve into the successful Boeing P-12 / F4B fighter aircraft and its civilian variants. A total of 586 aircraft would be produced.
It would be the last bi-plane developed by Boeing and also the last Boeing aircraft in which would was used in the construction of the wings.
Various variants would be developed besides the two prototypes, for US Navy, US Army Air Corps, export and civilian use. Even a remote-controlled variant was proposed but got cancelled. The US Navy designated the aircraft as F4Bx, with 187 built, the variants were:
F4B1 (Model 99) - 27 built Wooden, fabric-covered wings with a welded truss fuselage. An uncowled P&W R-1340 powered the aircraft, fixed main gear and a tail skid supported the aircraft on the ground.
F4B2 (Model 223) - 46 built Similar to the F4B1, but with a cowled engine, a spreader bar between the main gears and a free castoring tailwheel replacing the tail skid.
F4B3 (Model 235) - 21 built With a more modern constructed fuselage, with a combination of a welded truss fuselage and a semi-monocoque fuselage. Powered by a supercharged P&W R-1340-D engine providing 500 HP to a two-bladed Hamilton Standard propellor.
F4B4 (Model 235) - 92 built The main difference between the F4B3 and F4B4 was a larger fin on the latter, to improve directional stability. Another difference was the fuel supply to the engine by different carburettor systems. Powered by a P&W R-1340-16 engine.
F4B5 - 0 built A follow-up design of the F4B4 non were built.
The USAAC designated the aircraft as a P-12x, with 366 built, the variants were:
P-12 (Model 102) - 9 built U.S. Army Air Corps version of the F4B-1 with a 450 hp R-1340-7 engine
XP-12A (Model 101) - one built The 10th built P-12 with NACA cowl a 525 hp R-1340-9 engine and a shorter undercarriage.
P-12B (Model 102B) - 90 built As P-12 with larger mainwheels and improvements tested on XP-12A,
P-12C (Model 222) - 96 built As P-12B with ring cowl and spreader-bar undercarriage
P-12D (Model 234) - 35 built As P-12C with a 525 hp R-1340-17 engine
P-12E (Model 234) - 110 built As P-12D with a semi-monocoque metal fuselage, redesigned vertical tail surfaces, some were later fitted with tailwheels instead of skids.
P-12F (Model 251) - 25 built As P-12E with a 600 hp R-1340-19 engine.
XP-12G - one converted P-12B modified with an R-1340-15 engine with a side-type supercharger.
XP-12H - one converted P-12D modified with a GISR-1340E experimental engine, one converted.
P-12J P-12E modified with a 575 hp R-1340-23 engine, and special bombsight
YP-12K - 7 temporary conversions P-12E and P-12J re-engined with a fuel-injected SR-1340E engine
XP-12Ld - one converted YP-12K temporary fitted with an F-2 supercharger
Specifications for the P-12E as used by the USAAC Crew: 1
Length: 20 ft 4 in (6.20 m)
Wingspan: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Height: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Gross weight: 2,690 lb (1,220 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-17 Wasp 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 500 hp (370 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed adjustable-pitch metal propeller
Maximum speed: 189 mph (304 km/h, 164 kn)
Cruise speed: 160 mph (260 km/h, 140 kn)
Range: 570 mi (920 km, 500 nmi)
Service ceiling: 26,300 ft (8,000 m) Armament: Machine guns of various calibre and bombs