Boeing F3B

The Boeing F3B was a biplane fighter and fighter bomber that served with the United States Navy from 1928 into the early 1930s. 

Boeing F3B
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Boeing
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1928
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United States of America 1928 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Boeing 74 View
Designed by Boeing as its Model 74, the plane was an incremental improvement over the F2B. The Navy-designated prototype XF3B-1 still had the tapered wings of the F2B but was built as a single-float seaplane using the FB-5 undercarriage. The growing use of aircraft carriers took away most of the need for floating fighters, and by the time other test results had been taken into account, the production F3B-1 (Model 77) had a larger upper wing that was slightly swept back and a redesigned tail with surfaces made from corrugated aluminum. It also eliminated the spreader bar arrangement of the undercarriage and revised the vertical tail shape.

It first flew on February 3, 1928 after which Boeing received a contract for 73 more. F3Bs served as fighter bombers for some four years with the squadrons VF-2B aboard USS Langley, VB-2B aboard USS Saratoga (later VF-6B), and VB-1B on USS Lexington, during which period some were fitted with Townend rings and others with streamlined wheel fairings. The aircraft remained in first-line service up to 1932 and some were retained as command and staff transports for several more years.

Role Carrier-based Fighter-Bomber
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight 3 February 1928
Introduction August 1928
Primary user U.S. Navy
Number built 74 including the prototype
Developed from F2B-1 & FB-5

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 24 ft 10 in (7.57 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft (10.06 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 2 in (2.79 m)
  • Wing area: 275 ft (25.55 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,179 lb (988 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,945 lb (1,336 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-80 Wasp Radial, 425 hp (317 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 136.5 knots (157 mph, 253 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 113.9 knots (131 mph, 211 km/h)
  • Range: 295.5 nm (340 mi, 547 km)
  • Service ceiling 21,500 ft (6,555 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,020 ft/min (10.26 m/s)
  • Wing loading: lb/ft (kg/m)


  • Two 0.3 in (7.62mm) forward firing Browning Machine Guns in the forward fuselage
  • Five 25 lb (11.3 kg) bombs carried under the fuselage and lower wing

End notes