Curtiss P-2 Hawk

Curtiss P-2 Hawk

By Joe Baugher

The designation P-2 (Model 34B) was the Army designation for the last five P-1 Hawks [35-420/424] which were repowered at the factory with a 500hp liquid-cooled Curtiss V-1400 in place of the standard 435hp V-1150 (D-12) engine on the rest of the aircraft in the original P-1 order. The new engine made these five planes sufficiently different from the rest of the P-1 order that the Army deemed them worthy of a different P-designation.

    The first flight of the P-2 took place in Dec 1925. The increased power provided to the P-2 by the V-1400 engine resulted in an improvement in performance vis-a-vis the "standard" P-1 Hawk. Maximum speed at sea level was 172 mph, 151 mph at 15,000'. Initial climb was 2170 ft/min, and an altitude of 6500' could be attained in 3.5 minutes. Weights were 2018# empty, 2869# gross. Service ceiling was 22,950 feet, and range was 400 miles. The P-2 was armed with a pair of .30 machineguns installed in the upper engine cowling, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc.

   However, the V-1400 proved to be unsatisfactory in service. After less than a year of operation, the Army converted P-2s [25-421/422, -424] to P-1A configuration with the D-12 engine of the P-1 series. [25-423] became XP-6, the prototype for the P-6 line when fitted with the new 600hp liquid-cooled Curtiss V-1570 Conqueror. Stripped of military equipment, it placed second (at 189 mph) in the unlimited event of the 1927 National Air Races. The winner of this race was the Conqueror powered XP-6A, which had been produced by the conversion of a P-1A.

Only [25-420] remained a P-2, temporarily becoming XP-2 when tested witha turbocharged V-1400. Top speed was almost 180 mph, but the basic shortcomings of the engine precluded any further development.

-- United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter Bowers (Smithsonian Press 1989)
-- The American Fighter, Enzo Angellucci and Peter Bowers (Orion Books 1987)