Curtiss OC

The Curtiss OC Falcon was the US Navy's version of the O-1 Falcon two-seat observation aircraft, and was originally produced as the F8C attack aircraft.

The XF8C-1 combined features from the XO-12 Falcon and the A-3 Falcon. From the XO-12 it took its Pratt & Whitney Wasp air cooled radial engine (the US Navy having decided not to use air-cooled inline engines on carrier aircraft). From the A-3 and modified XA-4 it took its bomb racks and wing guns.

The first prototype (A7671) later became a standard F8C-1 and then an OC-1. It saw more varied service than most of the OC-2s, spending time with VO-10M, a Marine Observation squadron based in China, and with VO-8M on the West Coast.

Four F8C-1s were ordered for the Marine Corps. They were delivered in January 1928 (as were the two prototypes), just before the Navy Falcons were redesignated as Observation aircraft. The F8C-1 became the OC-1.

The F8C-1 was followed by twenty one F8C-3s (delivered between February and April 1928). These aircraft carried extra equipment and were slightly slower than the F8C-1s. During 1928 the F8C-3 became the OC-2. These aircraft remained in service during the first half of the 1930s, serving with Marine Squadrons VO-8M and VO-10M. By the time the last aircraft was retired in October 1935 it had logged 2,511 flying hours.


The XOC-3 was the designation given to the second XF8C-1 (XOC-1) prototype (A7672) when it was given an experimental 600hp Curtiss H-1640 Chieftain engine. The Chieftain engine was a failure and wasn't adopted for production aircraft.

F8C Helldiver

The same F8C designation was briefly shared by the Helldiver dive bomber. The first Helldiver was produced on the same prototype contract as the two XF8C-1s, and was given the designation XF8C-2. When the F8C-1 and F8C-3 became the OC-1 and OC-2 the F8C designation was left to the Helldivers. They didn't use it for long, and were soon redesignated as the Curtiss O2C.

Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340B Wasp
Power: 435hp
Crew: 2
Span: 38ft 0in
Length: 27ft 11in
Height: 10ft 3in
Empty weight: 2,512lb
Loaded weight: 4,175
Max speed: 136h
Climb Rate: 1,010ft/ min
Service ceiling: 16,400ft
Range: 650 miles
Range: 653 miles

Sources disagree on armament, with some giving it two fixed forward firing and one flexibly mounted .30in machine guns and others four fixed guns and two flexibly mounted guns.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 January 2013), Curtiss OC ,

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