Starting in 1925 with the P-1, Curtiss built a long series of fighters carrying the name “Hawk”. Of the eight different P-6 models produced, the P-6E remains the best known. Originally designated the Y1P-22, it was later redesignated the P-6E because of the similarity to the other P-6 series airplanes.
The P-6E was never used in combat, but it is perhaps the best-known of all the “between wars” Army pursuit aircraft. Despite its excellent performance, only 46 P-6Es were ordered because of the shortage of funds for the Air Corps during the austere days of the depression.
The P-6Es served between 1932 and 1937 with the 1st Pursuit Group (17th and 94th PS) at Selfridge, and with the 8th Pursuit Group (33rd PS) at Langley Field, Virginia. Numerous accidents claimed at least 27 of the 46 aircraft delivered. As the P-6Es became obsolete, instead of receiving depot overhauls, they were allowed to wear out in service and were scrapped or sold. At least one survived into 1942 in United States Army Air Forces service.
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