Airplanes in My Novels: the Seversky P-35


Photo Credit: US Army Air Forces via Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain

The Seversky P-35, like the Boeing P-26, was an all-metal monoplane, and, like the P-26, was the first of its kind. It flew in 1937 as the Army Air Corps’ first all-metal monoplane with retractable landing gear and a fully-enclosed cockpit. It had an 800-hp engine and could reach speeds of nearly 300 mph.

The gear retracted straight back into a fairing, leaving a bit of the wheel sticking out below it. Note that the cockpit has a metal framework, not at all the smooth bubble canopy that became standard only six years after the P-35 first took to the air.

The picture above is worth some study. Note the insignia on the fuselage forward of the two dark bands. The insignia is the snowy owl, used by the 17th Pursuit Squadron. The two dark bands identify it as the squadron commander’s aircraft. So this airplane was flown by the legendary Boyd D. “Buzz” Wagner.

Look further into the background of the picture and you will see a P-26 parked in front of the P-35. The 17th Pursuit flew the P-26 when they first arrived in the Philippines in late 1940. P-35s were sent to the Philippines in the late spring of 1941. They were flown by the 17th until enough P-40s arrived in the fall of 1941 for the squadron to re-equip.

The P-35 had a civilian version, the SEV-S1. One of those was flown in the Bendix race of 1938 by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochrane. For more information, follow this link:


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2 responses to “Airplanes in My Novels: the Seversky P-35

  1. I guess the P-35 is always the ‘forgotten fighter’ in that it was so quickly eclipsed, but I guess that was a reflection of the pace of development once they’d got on to the stressed-skin cantilever monoplane. I always thought it was a supremely cool start. Years ago when I was on my kit-building jag, I went on a crusade to build all of Kartveli’s Seversky/Republic fighters, starting with the P-35, and going on to some of the jets that followed his reign. The XF-84H wasn’t available as a kit, but I managed to kit-bash an F-84F into one, sort of. I finished up building an F-105 in Vietnam camo colours.

  2. The F-105 might be my all-time favorite jet fighter. Just something about the way it looks. I know a guy here in Hickory who did two tours in Vietnam — one flying the F-105D and the other as a Wild Weasel in the F-105F!

    Some decades ago I was in Kermit Weeks’ museum when it was still in N. Miami Beach. They had a P-35 painted up as Buzz Wagner’s airplane, exactly like the one in the photo above.

    So going up the developmental chain a little…my favorite all-time warplane might have to be the P-47 Thunderbolt. Like the F-105, there’s just something about a Jug…

    Later and thanks for commenting!

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