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Y1B-9 test flight, 1932.
Role Bomber aircraft
Manufacturer Boeing
Designer John Sanders
First flight 29 April 1931
Introduction 5 November 1931
Retired 1935
Status No surviving examples
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Produced 1930-1933
Number built 7
Developed from Boeing Monomail

The Boeing YB-9 was the first all-metal monoplane bomber aircraft designed for the United States Army Air Corps. The YB-9 was an enlarged alteration of Boeing's Model 200 Commercial Transport.

Design and development[edit | edit source]

In May 1930, Boeing had flown its Model 200 Monomail single-engined mailplane. The Monomail was of radical design for the time, being a semi-monocoque, stressed skin cantilever monoplane with a retractable undercarriage. The United States Army Air Corps bomber squadrons were largely equipped with slow biplanes such as the Keystone B-6, and Boeing decided to design and build a twin-engined bomber using the same techniques used in the Monomail to re-equip the Air Corps.[1][2]

Using its own money, Boeing decided to build two prototypes of its new bomber design as a private venture. The two aircraft differed only in the engines used, with the Model 214 to be powered by two liquid-cooled Curtiss V-1570-29 Conqueror engines while the Model 215 had two Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet radial engines.[3] Both aircraft were low winged cantilever monoplanes with a slim, oval cross-section fuselage accommodating a crew of five. The pilot and co-pilot sat in separate open cockpits, with the co-pilot, who doubled as the bombardier sitting forward of the pilot. Two gunners, each armed with a single machine gun sat in nose and dorsal positions, while a radio operator sat inside the fuselage. Like the Monomail, a retractable tailwheel undercarriage was used.[4][5]

The first of the two prototypes to fly was the radial powered Model 215 which, carrying civil markings and the aircraft registration X-10633, made its maiden flight on 13 April 1931.[6][7] It was leased to the Air Corps for testing under the designation XB-901, demonstrating a speed of 163 mph (262 km/h). Testing was successful, and both the XB-901 and the as-yet incomplete Model 214 were purchased as the YB-9 and Y1B-9 respectively on 13 August 1931, with an order for a further five for service testing following shortly.[2][8]

The Y1B-9 (Y1 indicating funding outside normal fiscal year procurement), powered by two liquid-cooled Curtiss V-1570-29 'Conqueror' engines, first flew on 5 November 1931. The increased power from these engines, combined with increased streamlining of the engine nacelles, increased its top speed to 173 mph (278 km/h). The YB-9, meanwhile, had been re-engined with more powerful Hornets, demonstrating slightly better performance than the Y1B-9, which was therefore also re-engined with Hornets.[2][8] With the exception of the B-2 Condor, liquid-cooled engines were never used on production bombers for the United States military. The air-cooled radial engine was lighter and more reliable than the liquid-cooled engine, and less vulnerable to enemy damage.

The five Y1B-9A service test aircraft had the Pratt & Whitney R-1860-11 Hornet engines which powered the re-engined YB-9 and Y1B-9 and a redesigned vertical stabilizer. While enclosed canopies were considered and designed, the B-9 was never fitted with them.[8] Although it equaled the speed of all existing American fighter aircraft,[9] no further aircraft were built, as the Glenn L. Martin Company had flown a prototype of a more advanced bomber, the XB-907, which was ordered into production as the Martin B-10.[6]

Operational history[edit | edit source]

The first of the five Y1B-9As entered service with the 20th and 49th Bombardment Squadrons, 2nd Bomb Group on 14 September 1932, with all being in service by the end of March 1933. The new bomber proved impossible to intercept during air exercises in May 1932, strengthening calls for improved air defense warning systems. Two B-9s were destroyed during crashes in 1933, one of the accidents being fatal, while the remaining aircraft were gradually phased out over the next two years, with the last being withdrawn on 26 April 1935.[10]

Variants[edit | edit source]

Boeing model B-215
contract number: XB-901
Boeing model B-214
  • Y1B-9A (five produced). Pratt & Whitney Y1G1SR-1860B (R-1860-11) (600 hp). Metal instead of fabric covering on the control surfaces. There were also many internal structural and equipment changes
Boeing model B-246

Operators[edit | edit source]

United States
  • United States Army Air Corps

Specifications (Y1B-9A)[edit | edit source]

Data from United States Military Aircraft since 1909[11]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 52 ft 0 in (15.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 76 ft 10 in (23.42 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m)
  • Wing area: 954 ft² (88.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,941 lb (4,064 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 14,320 lb (6,500 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1860-11 Hornet radial engine, 600 hp (448 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 188 mph (163 knots, 302 km/h) at 6,000 ft (1,830 m)
  • Cruise speed: 165 mph (143 knots, 265 km/h)
  • Range: 540 mi (470 nmi, 869 km)
  • Service ceiling: 20,750 ft (6,325 m)
  • Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)


  • Guns: 2× .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns
  • Bombs: 2,260 lb (1,030 kg) bombs

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Pelletier 2002, p. 44.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p. 72.
  3. Bowers 1989, p. 200.
  4. Pelletier 2002, pp. 44–45.
  5. Bowers 1989, pp. 200–201.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Bowers 1989, pp. 202–203.
  7. Pelletier 2002, p. 47.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Pelletier 2002, pp. 46–47.
  9. "YB-9 factsheet." National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  10. Pelletier 2002, pp. 48–49.
  11. Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p. 73.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Baugher, Joe. "Boeing B-9". Encyclopedia of American Aircraft, 10 September 2002. Retrieved: 7 July 2010.
  • Bowers, Peter M. Boeing Aircraft since 1916. London: Putnam, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-804-6.
  • Jones, Lloyd. U. S. Bombers. Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers, 1974. ISBN 0-8168-9126-5.
  • Pelletier, Alain. "End of the Dinosaurs: Boeing's B-9, Breaking the Bomber Mold". Air Enthusiast, Volume 101, September/October 2002, pp. 44–49.
  • Swanborough, F. G. and Peter M. Bowers. United States Military Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam, 1963.
  • Wagner, Ray. American Combat Planes. New York: Doubleday, 1982. ISBN 0-930083-17-2.

External links[edit | edit source]

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