Boeing Aircraft since 1916

P.Bowers - Boeing Aircraft since 1916 /Putnam/

MODEL 16 (de Havilland 4 Series, O2B-1) - In the early postwar years, the Army Air Service initiated a modernization programme for the original production models of the Liberty Plane, the British-designed de Havilland 4 of 1916 which had been put into large-scale production in the United States in 1918 after being redesigned to take the Liberty engine and conform to American production standards. The modernization job was turned over to the aircraft industry, and early models were rebuilt to the later de Havilland 4B standard. Later, after the Army had studied German designs taken to the United States after the armistice, it was greatly impressed by the strength and maintenance efficiency of the welded steel tube fuselage of the Fokker D.VII. As a result, another DH-4 modernization programme was initiated, this time to incorporate steel tube fuselages in rebuilt models to be known as DH-4M. Altogether, Boeing rebuilt 354 DH-4s from 1920 to 1925. Since weights and performance were similar for all versions, a single technical listing has been made for all.

   Type: Observation/bomber/trainer
   Accommodation: 2 in tandem
   Power plant: Liberty
   Span: 42 ft 5 in
   Length: 29 ft 11 in
   Height: 9 ft 8 in
   Wing area: 440 sq ft
   Empty weight: 2,939 lb
   Gross weight: 4,595 lb
   Max speed: 118 mph
   Cruising speed: 104 mph
   Climb: 760 ft/min
   Service ceiling: 12,800 ft
   Range: 330 miles
   Armament: Two fixed, two flexible .30 cal MG, one 400 lb bomb

Model C/ns Army serial numbers
DH-4B 88/198 (111) 63461/63507, 63936, 63761/63823
   412/461 (50) 22-1000/22-1049 (Rebuilt from above)
XDH-4M-1 515/517 (3) 68590/68592
DH-4M-1 462/511 (50) Random original numbers
   519/618 (100)
O2B-1 (Navy) 619/648 (30) A-6898/6927 (6924/6927 to O2B-2)
DH-4 Mail 652 Civil Registration 489
Cuban DH-4B 653/658 (6)

DH-4B - One hundred and eleven Liberty aircraft were delivered to Boeing for conversion to DH-4B, and all were redelivered to the Army between March 6 and July 1, 1920. The major improvement involved interchanging the positions of the fuel tank and the pilot's cockpit. The original between-cockpits location of the tank had done much to earn the Liberty aircraft its wartime nickname of 'Flaming Coffin'. Other changes involved moving the undercarriage forward slightly and minor equipment revisions. The DH-4Bs were given new Army serial numbers at the time of was common Army practice at the time, and some DH-4 airframes carried as many as four different military serial numbers between first flight and final salvage. Fifty of the original Boeing DH-4s were returned to Boeing in 1923 for further remodelling (still as DH-4Bs) and were given still another set of Army serial numbers as well as new Boeing serial numbers. Colouring was the standard olive drab all over.

XDH-4M-1 - Under a contract signed in February 1923, Boeing undertook to equip three DH-4s with steel tube fuselages, using the Boeing-developed arc welding process, as XDH-4M-1. The letter M stood for Modernized. The machines were originally to have been plain DH-4M, but the prefix X was added later in Army records and the suffix designation -1 was added to distinguish the Boeing-built steel fuselages from those built by Fokker in his new American factory, the Atlantic Aircraft Corp. The Fokker-Atlantic models were DH-4M-2, and used the gas welding process. Outwardly, the DH-4Ms were indistinguishable from the earlier B model except for the fact that the fuselage was covered with fabric instead of plywood. Although produced on an earlier contract, the three XDH-4M-1s carried c/ns and Army serial numbers at the end of a later contract. The modification programme on the three prototypes cost $15,163.69

DH-4M-1 (O2B-1) - Two additional contracts were received by Boeing for DH-4 modernization, one for 50 in June 1923 and one for 133 in July 1923. The sums involved were $157,000 and $263,300, respectively, and the machines were intended primarily for photographic purposes. Later, 22 were converted to dual-control trainers at Army depots and redesignated DH-4M-1T. Although the Army had adopted a standard designation system for aircraft well before the DH-4B and DH-4M orders, aircraft in existence before adoption of the system retained their original designation to the end of the service life of the type. In 1924, when the practice of painting the manufacturer's name on the rudder of Army aeroplanes began, and in 1927, when it appeared in the type designation on the side of the fuselage, the name Boeing DH-4M or DH-4M-1 was applied to the rebuilt aeroplanes just as though Boeing were the original manufacturer. Army DH-4M-1s were originally olive drab all over. Those in service after 1927 had wings and tail surfaces changed to orange-yellow.
   The DH-4M-1s were delivered between January 21 and September 12, 1924. One Boeing DH-4M-1 was still flyable in 1989.

O2B-1 - The last 30 DH-4M-1s were diverted to the US Marine Corps in Naval colouring and were redesignated O2B-1 under the prevailing Naval aircraft designating system (OB-1 had been assigned to a Navy-designed amphibian to have been built by Boeing. While the two aeroplanes, Navy serial number 6882 and 6883, were not built, the designation and serial numbers were not reassigned). The O2B-1s were delivered between March 10 and 31, 1925. Colour was all silver with orange-yellow upper surfaces on top wing and horizontal tail.

O2B-2 - The last four O2B-1s (A-6924/6927) were converted by the Navy to cross-country configuration similar to Army Airways DH-4s, with lights, radio, flares, and generally more comfortable crew accommodation, and were given the designation of O2B-2.
The first De Havilland 4M-1, a rebuilt wartime DH-4B using the Boeing-developed arc welding process for an entirely new steel tube fuselage.
A Boeing-built DH-4M-1T dual control trainer in service at Brooks Field, Texas, in July 1929. Note Boeing-designed US Army rudder stripes adopted in 1926 and Boeing designation on fuselage.
Boeing-built DH-4M-1s delivered to US Marines were given naval designation of O2B-1. Navy colouring after 1920 was all silver with yellow top to upper wing and tail.
Marine Corps O2B-2 with the rounded turtledeck that identified the -2 variant. The Loening COA-1 wings shown were fitted to a number of DH-4s and O2Bs without affecting their designations.
Boeing Model 16 (DH-4M-1)
MODEL 1 (B & W) - The first Boeing aeroplane design was a joint venture of William E Boeing and his assistants and Commander G Conrad Westervelt of the US Navy, who participated as a private individual while stationed in Seattle. The collaboration resulted in the designation of B & W for the two aeroplanes that were built to that initial design.
   The first aeroplane was assembled in Boeing's new boathouse/hangar on Lake Union, after some components, including the pontoons, had been built in the shipyard. Construction was entirely conventional for the period, the structure being wood with wire bracing, all fabric covered. The engine was started by compressed air from a tank in the aft fuselage. The original control system was unique, a 'three-in-one', where forward movement of the control column worked the elevators, sideways motion moved the ailerons, and a wheel on top worked the rudder. There was no hand throttle; the pilot activated this with his right foot. This arrangement was quickly changed to the conventional Deperdussin control with rudder bar, while the original pontoons, which proved to be too small, were replaced with a larger and simplified design. The first B & W, named Bluebird, flew on June 29, 1916, and the second, named Mallard, flew in November. Both were sold to the New Zealand government in 1918 and were used as airmail carriers.

   Type: Utility seaplane
   Accommodation: 2 in tandem
   Power plant: Hall-Scott A-5, 125 hp
   Span: 52 ft
   Length: 31 ft 2 in overall
   Wing area: 580 sq ft
   Empty weight: 2,100 lb
   Gross weight: 2,800 lb
   Max speed: 75 mph
   Cruising speed: 67 mph
   Climb: 700 ft/min
   Range: 320 miles
   C/ns: 1,2

MODEL 1A (B & W 1A) - To commemorate its 50th anniversary on July 15, 1966, Boeing built a full-scale replica of its first aeroplane, the B & W, to emphasize the great advances made in aircraft design over the half century. Rather than give the replica a new Boeing c/n in the jet airliner range, it was given c/n 1A.
   While the outward appearance was authentic, many internal changes were made in the interest of production economy, structural integrity, safety afloat, and airworthiness. Principal changes were the use of welded steel tubing for the fuselage and tail, modernized flight controls and instrumentation, and a modern Lycoming GO-435 engine de-rated to 170 hp. In spite of a 500-pound increase in empty weight, the increased engine power and improved aerodynamics gave the replica the same performance as the original.
   Boeing requested the registration number 1916B. This was not available, so 1916L was assigned and applied very inconspicuously to the fuselage beneath the horizontal stabilizer.
   Although the aircraft was completed and initially flown as a pure seaplane, bolt-on wheels were soon added to the floats to enable the replica to be demonstrated at air shows held on regular airports.
The first Boeing-designed aeroplane, the B & W of 1916, floating by the broad sloping ramp of the original factory-hangar.
The B & W being brought ashore.
The replica B & W taking off from Lake Washington.
The replica B & W made its first flight on May 25, 1966.
For demonstrations in Wichita, Kansas, and at air shows away from Seattle, the B & W 1A replica was fitted with wheels and brakes under the pontoons. These did not make the replica amphibious.
The front and rear cockpits of the first B & W. Note sparse instrumentation.
MODEL 2 (C-4) - The C-4 was so named because it was the third aeroplane design used and the fourth aeroplane owned by Boeing, including the Martin seaplane. It was the second Boeing design, even though the firm was still known as Pacific Aero Products at the time it was built, and carried Serial Number 3 because it was the third aeroplane built. It was an entirely original design and differed considerably from the B & W both in basic aerodynamic characteristics and general appearance. The wings had an unusual degree of stagger and dihedral angle compared to other aircraft of the period for the purpose of providing inherent stability. This was considered by the Boeing engineers as the most desirable characteristic for a training aeroplane. The tail surfaces differed from the B & W in that the horizontal stabilizer was deleted and a vertical fin added. The C-4 was dismantled after testing but was rebuilt and flown in August 1918. See Model 3 for specifications.

MODEL 3 (C-5,6,11) - Slightly revised versions of the Model 2 (C-4), the major outward difference being rearrangement of the centre section struts to join at the centre line of the upper wing. C-5 and C-6 were sold to the US Navy for evaluation as trainers after the United States entered WW-I and C-11, rebuilt from the C-4, was delivered to a private owner in July 1918.

   Type: Trainer
   Accommodation: 2 in tandem
   Power plant: Hall-Scott A-7A, 100 hp
   Span: 43 ft 10 in
   Length: 27 ft overall
   Height: 12 ft 7 in
   Wing area: 495 sq ft
   Empty weight: 1,898 lb
   Gross weight: 2,395 lb
   Max speed: 72.7 mph
   Cruising speed: 65 mph
   Service ceiling: 6,500 ft
   Range: 200 miles
   C/ns: 6,7,8
   Navy serial numbers: 147, 148 (for 6 and 7)

MODEL 5 (C-650-700, C-1F, CL-4S) - Fifty Model 5s were ordered by the Navy as primary trainers following evaluation of the two Model 3s (C-5 and C-6) which can be considered the military prototypes. Since the production models were practically identical, Boeing retained the designation of Model C, supplementing it with the Navy-assigned serial number 650 to 699 for each individual aeroplane. The Navy ordered one additional aircraft (A-4347) for test with a single main float installation and a Curtiss OXX-6 engine. This was identified by Boeing as the C-1F (meaning Model C with one float). Before the C-1F was completed, the single float installation was tested on the rebuilt Model 2 (C-4), that became the C-11.
   One additional Model C was built for William E Boeing, and since it followed the last Navy trainer, C-699, through the shop, it was logically called C-700. The C-700 was modified slightly in December 1918, and redesignated CL-4S, indicating a Model C with the new four-cylinder Hall-Scott L-4 engine. This aeroplane was used by William Boeing and Edward Hubbard on March 3, 1919, to make a demonstration international air mail flight from Vancouver to Seattle in connection with a Canadian exposition. This flight inspired the later inauguration of the Seattle - Victoria Contract International Air Mail route, where transpacific mail was delivered to and picked up from ships a day out of Seattle. Since it was operating in Canada at a time when Canadian aircraft had to carry registrations but US aircraft did not, it was registered as G-CADR (G for Great Britain, CA for Canada) for the initial part of its mail service. The G-prefix was soon changed to the assigned N for the United States to show its true ownership.
   The Navy declared all the Model Cs surplus after WW-I, taking full-page ads in the aviation magazines to advertise them and quote the original price of $ 10,250 each. About the first thing the private owners did was to replace the highly unreliable Hall-Scott engines with either 90 hp Curtiss OX-5s or 150 hp Wright-Hispano surplus engines. Several Cs were still flying when US registration became mandatory in January 1927, and at least two were painted in German WW-I markings and crashed for the film 'Dawn Patrol' in 1931.

   Accommodation: 2 in tandem
   Power plant: Hall-Scott A-7A, 100 hp
   Span: 43 ft 10 in
   Length: 27 ft overall
   Height: 12 ft 7 in
   Wing area: 495 sq ft
   Empty weight: 1,898 lb
   Gross weight: 2,395 lb
   Max speed: 72.7 mph
   Cruising speed: 65 mph
   Service ceiling: 6,500 ft
   Range: 200 miles
   C/ns: 9/60
   Navy serial numbers: 650/699 for c/n 10/59, 4347 for c/n 9
Boeing Model 2, the C-4 seaplane, with small vertical radiators and parallel centre section structs. The apparent dark colouring is varnish applied over clear-doped fabric.
One of the three Model 3 seaplanes fully assembled inside the original factory building, which also functioned as a hangar. In the background is Mr Boeing's original Martin seaplane in the process of coversion to a landplane.
The C-1F seaplane, a single-float version of the standard C-650-699 (Model 5) with Curtiss OXX-6 engine. Standard Navy colouring in 1918 was over-all stone grey.
The C-700, a private machine built for William Boeing's use at the end of Navy C-650-699 production and duplicating the Navy trainers even to the use of military markings. Note reversed order of rudder stripes from 1917.
The C-700 modified to CL-4S by installation of improved Hall-Scott L-4 engine and reduction of aileron size to straighten trailing edge of wing.
Assembly line of Model C fuselages. The cylindrical tanks in the rear held compressed air for the engine self-starters.
A war-surplus Boeing C converted to a landplane by a private owner. The unreliable 100 hp Hall-Scott A-7A engine was replaced by a dependable 150 hp Wright-Hispano. Note the two-seat front cockpit.
Uncovered forward fuselage of a Boeing Model C Navy trainer, showing the rear-cockpit instrumentation and the heavy laminated wood yoke of the 'Dep' control system.
MODEL 4 (EA) - The two EAs were the first Boeing landplanes, and were essentially Model 3s with side-by-side seating and conventional wheel undercarriage supplemented by a third 'anti-nose-over' wheel. The power plant was a 100 hp Curtiss OXX-3 engine in place of the Hall-Scott. The designation EA is believed to be a continuation of the alphabetical series of model designations (Model 2 was C, Model 3 could have been D) combined with A-for-Army since they were designed for the US Army. Although the aircraft were delivered in January 1917, the purchase contract was not signed until April, after the United States had entered WW-I.

   Type: Trainer
   Accommodation: 2 side-by-side
   Power plant: Curtiss OXX-5, 100 hp
   Span: 48 ft 10 in
   Length: 24 ft 10 in
   Wing area: 479 sq ft
   Empty weight: 1,598 lb
   Gross weight: 2,185 lb
   Max speed: 67 mph
   Cruising speed: 60 mph
   Climb: 438 ft/min
   Service ceiling: 7,000 ft
   Range: 280 miles
   C/ns: 4,5
   Army serial numbers: 536, 537
Model 4, the EA landplane. The undercarriage was not a true tricycle; the extra wheel was to prevent nose-overs by student pilots.
CURTISS HS-2L (No Boeing Model Number) - In keeping with the policy of having several manufacturers build certain aircraft which were needed in quantity during WW-I, the Navy requested Boeing to build 50 Curtiss HS-2L single-engine patrol flying-boats. Construction was entirely conventional for the period, and fitted in well with Boeing seaplane experience, since the hulls were built up of crossed strips of wood veneer over wooden formers in much the same manner as used on the Boeing-designed floats of the Model Cs. Construction was sufficiently under way at the time of the armistice to permit completion of the first 25 aeroplanes in spite of the large postwar contract cancellations. The Boeing-built HS-2Ls differed from those built by Curtiss, Standard, Lockheed, Gallaudet, and L.W.F. in not having ailerons on the lower wing. This model provided Boeing with the flying-boat experience that resulted in the B-l and BB-1 boats of 1919-20.

   Type: Patrol flying-boat
   Accommodation: 2 pilots, 1 bombardier/gunner
   Power plant: Low-compression Liberty, 360 hp
   Span: 74 ft 1 in
   Length: 39 ft
   Height: 14 ft 7 in
   Wing area: 803 sq ft
   Empty weight: 4,359 lb
   Gross weight: 6,432 lb
   Max speed: 85 mph
   Climb: 1,800 ft in 10 min
   Range: 575 miles
   Armament: One Lewis MG, two 230 lb bombs
   C/ns: 61/85
   Navy serial numbers: A-4231 /4254
Curtiss HS-2L flying-boat, the first of several non-Boeing designs that the company was to build between 1918 and 1927.
THOMAS-MORSE MB-3A (No Boeing Model Number) - Under the Army Air Service procurement system in effect right after WW-I, Boeing was the low bidder on a production aircraft for 200 MB-3 single-seat fighters designed late in 1918 by Thomas-Morse. The originating firm had received an order for 50 of its own MB-3 model while Boeing got the larger order for improved MB-3As with its low bid of $1,448,000.
   The MB-3A was a conventional wood and wire fabric-covered biplane powered with the 300 hp Wright Model H engine, an Americanized French Hispano-Suiza. General structural and aerodynamic configuration was heavily influenced by the French Spad fighter of 1916-18. Construction began early in 1921 and the final delivery was made on December 27, 1922. Some were fitted with two-blade propellers and others with four-blade, but the last 50 aeroplanes were fitted with entirely new tail surfaces of Army design. One model was built with special wings using four ailerons. The Army serial numbers for the MB-3As were the 68000 range while the MB-3 prototypes were 40092 to 40095 and the 50 MB-3s were 63331 to 63380. The Thomas-Morse models had the radiator in the centre section of the upper wing, but side radiators proved more efficient and the Boeing-built MB-3As were fitted with side radiators built by Thomas-Morse.
   After a period of service as first-line fighters, many of the MB-3As were rebuilt by Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot (FAID) and sent to Kelly Field, Texas, where they were used as advanced trainers as late as 1927. Several, destined for the junk pile, were used as German fighters for crash scenes in the air-war film 'Wings', most of the flying sequences being taken near Kelly Field with Army co-operation.

   Type: Fighter
   Accommodation: 1 pilot
   Power plant: Wright H-3, 320 hp
   Span: 26 ft 0 in
   Length: 20 ft
   Height: 7 ft 8 in
   Wing area: 228 sq ft
   Empty weight: 1,716 lb
   Gross weight: 2,539 lb
   Max speed: 140 mph
   Cruising speed: 125 mph
   Climb: 1,350 ft/min
   Service ceiling: 19,500 ft
   Armament: Two .30 cal MG
   C/ns: 210/409
   Army serial numbers: 68237/68436
The first MB-3A, built after Boeing won industry-wide bidding for manufacture of 200 improved versions of WW-I Thomas-Morse pursuit design.
MB-3A with new redesigned tail surfaces as installed on the last 50 machines. Colouring of Army combat aircraft from 1918 to 1927 was khaki-brown (olive drab) all over.
Boeing designed and built its own propellers in the early 1920s. These four-bladers are for the MB-3A pursuit aircraft.
Women employees stitching the upper wing fabric of an MB-3A, circa 1922.
The MB-3A did not have a conventional instrument panel. Instead, the standard instruments were installed on the sides of the cockpit.
Condemned Army MB-3A made available to the producers of the 1927 cinema epic 'Wings', who used it to portray a fallen German Albatros D-III pursuit of WW-I