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United States' Curtiss SO3C Seagull, Seamew floatplane

Photos

  • Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull
  • Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull floatplane
  • Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull floatplane
  • Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull floatplane
  • Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull floatplane
  • Curtiss Wright SO3C-1 Seagull reconnaissance
  • Curtiss Wright SO3C-1 Seagull reconnaissance

Design

The Curtiss SO3C Seamew was developed to replace the Curtiss SOC Seagull scouting biplanes.

The Curtiss SOC was chosen over the Douglas XO2D-1 and Vought XO5U-1.

The Curtiss-Wright SO3Cs were constructed in two versions, one with floats and the other as a land based aircraft.

Prototype

The XSO3C-1 prototype first flew on October 6, 1939. It had a floatplane and under wing outriggers.

There were severe stability problems and upturned wingtips and larger tail surfaces were added.

Production

In 1938 orders for the US Navy were 304 and for the US Coast Guard 3 SOCs.

  • XSO3C-1: 1
  • SO3C-1, SOC-1: 141
  • SO3C-2, SOC-2: 200
  • SO3C-2C: 359
  • SO3C-3, SOC-3: 39
  • SON-1:
    • Manufacturer: Naval Aircraft Factory
  • Total: 740
    • Production: 1935 - ?, ? - January 1944

Variants

  • XSO3C-1: Prototype.
  • SO3C-1, SOC-1: Deliveries started in July 1942.
  • SO3C-2, SOC-2: Had arrester gear for carrier operations.
  • SOC-2A: Had arrester gear.
  • SO3C-2C / Seamew Mk I: Had new electronics, brakes, and radio. Monoplane. Introduced in 1942.
  • SO3C-1K / Queen Seamew: Conversions to target drones.
  • SOC-3A: Had arrester gear.
  • SOC-4:
  • SON-1:

Usage

Britain and the United States used the Curtiss SO3C Seamew.

In 1940 all American battleships, carriers, and cruisers had SOCs:

  • Battleships: 83
  • Cruisers: 63
  • Atlantic Squadron: 30
  • Pacific Cruiser Squadrons: 15

The SO3C was only used for 2 years. Due to their poor service they were converted into target drones. Their replacement was the Curtiss SOC Seagull biplanes that were brought out of mothballs.

First Assignment

On November 12, 1935, the first SOC-1 became operational on the light cruiser USS Marblehead.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom gave the SO3C the name Seamew, which replaced what it was originally called, the Seagull.

The Royal Navy was delivered 100 out of 250 Seamews ordered. They were used only for training.

Pearl Harbor

22 SOCs were destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Specifications

  Curtiss SO3C Seagull
Type Scout and observation floatplane
Crew 2
Dimensions  
Span 38'
11.58 m
Length 35' 8"
10.87 m
Height 14' 2"
4.32 m
Armament  
Forward firing 1: 0.3" MG
Rear cockpit 1: 0.3" MG
OR 1: 0.5" MG
Bombs - under wings 2: 100 lb
2: 45 kg
OR  
Depth charges - under wings 325 lb
147 kg
Under fuselage on land plane 500 lb
227 kg
  Curtiss SO3C-1 Seamew
Type Scout Observation
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Ranger
Ranger V-770-6
Pratt & Whitney R-1340-18 Wasp
Cylinders Ranger: In line, V 12
Wasp: Radial
Cooling Air
HP Ranger: 520
Wasp: 600
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 36', 38'
10.97 m
Length 31' 8", 34' 2"
9.65 m
Height 11' 5", 14' 1"
4.29 m
Wing area 348 sq ft
32.33 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,508 lb
1,591 kg
Loaded 5,700 lb
Loaded - Maximum 5,437 lb
2,466 kg
Performance  
Speed at Sea Level 157 mph
253 kph
Climb to 5,000' / 1,525 m 5 minutes 54 seconds
Service ceiling 14,900'
4,540 m
Range 954 miles
1,535 km
Armament  
Forward Firing 1: 7.62 mm / 0.3"
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.62 mm / 0.3"
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 100 lb
2: 45 kg
  Curtiss SO3C-2 Seamew
Engine (Type) Ranger V-770-6
Cylinders V 12
HP 520
Propeller blades 2
  Curtiss SO2C-2C Seamew
Engine (Type) Ranger V-770-20
HP 600
Propeller blades 2
Weight  
Empty 4,995 lb
2,266 kg
Loaded 7,000 lb
3,175 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 150 mph
241 kph
Speed at 8,100' / 2,470 m 172 mph
277 kph
Cruising speed 125 mph
201 kph
Climb 720'/minute
219 m/minute
Service ceiling 15,800'
4,815 m
Range 1,150 miles
1,850 km
  Curtiss SO3C-3 Seamew
Engine (Type) Ranger V-770-20
HP 600
Propeller blades 2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site