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Basement Chronicles – Boeing P-26 Peashooter Interview

March 10, 2010

Most don’t know that our museum has a full fabrication shop—an “aircraft factory”—in our basement, deep below our galleries. Down in the depths of the Museum, volunteers draft schematics (or blueprints), bend metal, shape wood, and drill, hammer and rivet to create some of the airplanes you see on our galley floor. Many of these volunteers worked for large aerospace companies and our now lending us their expertise. The Basement Chronicles will follow their work. This edition focuses on the Boeing P-26 “Peashooter.”

I had the chance to sit down with Jerry Orr, the lead for building our P-26 Peashooter aircraft, and ask him some questions on the progress of the airplane since my last update. Since then, our restoration volunteers have completed the wings and started to place them onto the fuselage. They are also working on finishing the cockpit. Soon after that, they will paint the Peashooter and it will be ready to be moved to its display.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2011 11:34 am


    I’m creating an intensely detailed cutaway illustration of the 1931 Gee Bee Model Z and am seeking information on how the cable actuated brake system would have looked like. I have searched the internet for quite some time but no reference material seems to be available.

    I’m not sure, but am assuming that the P-26 might have a similar brake system? I found one text document re. the Model Z which stated that its brakes were applied by back pressure on the stick, plus differential braking was achieved by toe pressure on the rudder pedals.

    If the P-26 brake system is similar, would you have a photo available of that area to help me figure this out?



    • Bernasconi permalink*
      April 4, 2011 11:53 am

      Hey Tom, thanks for your question. First, I wanted to let you know that the blog is now hosted at

      As for your question, here is the response from our curator:

      The P-26 does have cable operated brakes. With the pedals mounted on a pivot, cables attached to the pedals transmitted the necessary mechanical leverage necessary when pressure is applied to the top to them. The stick has nothing to do with the brakes and indeed a situation where back stick applied brakes would be dangerous. I have no idea what the Z pedals look like but the R-1 pedals are foot shaped and the brake actuator lever extends down vertically from near the bottom of the pedal. Hope this helps.

      If you would like to contact him, you can do so here:

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