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The P-30 was the first production aircraft ordered by the Army Air Corps with retractable landing gear, an enclosed and heated cockpit (for the pilot), and an exhaust driven turbo-supercharger.
After the loss of the Y1P-25 (S/N 32-321), the Army ordered four improved examples and designated the aircraft P-30 (S/N 33-204 to 33-207). These aircraft were used for evaluation. The gunner in the rear cockpit was prone to black-out during sharp turns or dive recovery, but the Army was sufficiently pleased with the aircraft to place a production order for 50 aircraft on Dec. 6, 1934.
The production aircraft (S/N 35-1 through 50) were initially designated P-30As but were later reclassified as PB-2As (Pursuit Biplace). The retractable landing gear was manually operated by the pilot through a hand crank located in the cockpit. The fixed-pitch propeller of the P-30 was replaced with a Curtiss Electric constant-speed propeller in the P-30A.
Improved Y1P-25; became PB-2
Improved P-30; became PB-2A
TECHNICAL NOTES (P-30A): Armament: Two .30-cal. machine guns firing through the propeller, one .30-cal. gun aft Engine: Curtiss V-1570-61 with G.E. form F-3 supercharger of 700 hp at 15,000 ft. Maximum speed: 274.5 mph at 25,000 ft. and 255.5 mph at 15,000 ft. Cruising speed: 215 mph Service ceiling: 28,000 ft. Weight: 4,306 lbs. empty/5,643 lbs. (maximum) Span: 43 ft. 11 in. Length: 30 ft. 0 in. Height: 8 ft. 3 in.