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Naval Aircraft Factory Yellow Peril

On loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Naval Aircraft Factory Yellow Peril

Combat Tactics

The N3N Yellow Peril is less maneuverable than the N2S Stearman. It is 200 pounds heavier than the Stearman and slightly faster because it has 15 more horsepower and better streamlining. While dogfighting, the N3N pilots learned that if they made a steep dive followed by a zoom-climb, they could get an upper hand over the N2S pilots. The technique was carried over and used against the more maneuverable Japanese airplanes during World War II. The N3N could dive faster than the N2S and survive a great G load. If the N2S pilots got on the tail of the N3N, the N3N pilot would do a half roll (split-s) and dive out of range.

Did You Know?

  • The U.S. Navy holds a unique spot in history. It is the only air power in the world that directly owned and operated a factory for the purpose of designing and producing aircraft suited to its needs. This was the Naval Aircraft Factory.
  • The N3N was the last biplane used by any of the armed services.
  • Instructor pilots would often put "Climb and Glide-65 knots" on the back of their goggle straps, hoping the student pilot would eventually get the message.
Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program