Abrams Aircraft Corporation

P-1 Explorer



The Abrams Explorer is a single engine 2-seat photo-survey plane with a twin boom configuration. Abrams further developed concept with the 1940 Explorer design (which see).

last update: 10 June 2006

author: Loet Kuipers


The Abrams P-1 Explorer was the first aircraft especially designed as a photo survey aircraft. Talbert ("Ted") Abrams was an aerial photographer who needed a special plane for that purpose. As there was nothing available, he designed one, together with Kenneth Ronan. The latter built the plane together with Mt Kuhl. The only Explorer (X-19897) was first flown in 1937. The shape of the aircraft was good for its duty as a photo-survey aircraft. It was extensively used until the outbreak of WWII, when it was no longer needed and put in storage. The plane was donated to the National Air and Space Museum, where it is stored at present.


wing: Low-wing cantilever monoplane with straight trailing edge and swept-back leading edge. Wing has monospar structure, made of welded steel tubing; inner sections are covered with aluminium, outer sections with fabric. Wing has manually-operated flaps. Conventional ailerons which can be lowered for take-off and landing.
fuselage: Lay-out consists of fuselage pod with pusher engine at the rear and twin tail-booms.
tail: Elevator carried between twin booms; twin fins and rudders. Tail booms are of duraluminium monocoque construction, elevator and rudders have a steel-tube structure with fabric covering.
landing gear: Fixed, tricycle gear. All wheels faired for minimum drag. Brakes on main wheels, nose wheel is steerable.


- A single Wright Whirlwind R-975-E-1 9-cylinder aircooled radial piston engine, delivering 365 hp (272 kW) at take-off and 290 hp (216 kW) continuous.
- Engine drives a 2-blade controllable-pitch propeller made by Hamilton-Standard.
- Fuel capacity not known.


No information available.


No information available.


Two crew, seated in tandem in enclosed, entirely glazed cabin. Crew consisted of pilot and observer. Dual controls. Provision for both oblique and vertical photography through sealed apertures. In-built oxygen supply for high altitude flight.





wing span

11.18 m / 36.67 ft

overall length

8.08 m / 26.50 ft

overall height

1.93 m / 6.33 ft

wing area

18.6 sq m / 200 sq ft

Weights & Loads

max. t-o weight

1542 kg / 3400 lbs

empty weight

953 kg / 2100 lbs

useful load

590 kg / 1300 lbs

wing loading

83 kg/sq m / 17.0 lb/sq ft

power loading

4.2 kg/hp / 9.3 lb/hp


max. speed, 10000 ft

174 kts / 322 km/h

cruise speed (TAS), 10000 ft

152 kts / 282 km/h

max. range

1043 nm / 1931 km

service ceiling

20000 ft / 6100 m

max. rate of climb

1400 fpm / 7.1 m/s

landing speed, flaps down

52 kts / 97 km/h

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