Model Airplane News
June, 1940

Model Airplane News Cover for June, 1940 by Jo Kotula Curtiss XSO3C-1 Seamew Floatplane

Curtiss XSO3C-1 "Seamew" Floatplane
Model Airplane News Cover Art for June, 1940
by Jo Kotula
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In 1937 the US Navy invited proposals for the design of a scout monoplane which would offer improved performance over the Curtiss SOC Seagull then in operational service. one requirement was that the plane had to be capable of operating from either ships at sea or land bases. This meant that easily interchangeable float/wheel landing gear was essential. The prototype had serious instability problems that were resolved by introducing upturned wingtips and increased tail surfaces. The amount of increased tail surface is shown clearly in the patent drawings below. The resulting aircraft was almost certainly the ugliest aircraft to be produced by the Curtiss company.

 Curtiss SO2C Seamew  Observation Floatplane

Curtiss SO2C "Seamew"

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The SO3C-1 entered service on board the USS Cleveland 1942; 300 were built before production switched to the SO3C-2 with equipment for carrier operations, including an arrester hook, plus an underfuselage rack on the landplane version to mount a 150 lb. bomb. The total production run of the latter plane was 456 of which 250 were allocated to the UK under Lend-Lease, In British service these aircraft were designated Seamew, a name adopted subsequently by the US Navy

The unsatisfactory performance of the SO3C-1 in the US Navy led to their withdrawal from first-line service. Many were converted for use as radio-controlled targets under the designation SO3C-1K, 30 being assigned to the UK, by whom they were designated Queen Seamew and used to supplement the fleet of de Havilland Queen Bee target aircraft.

Curtiss SO2C Seamew  Observation Floatplane Design Patent  D-126,523 Curtiss SO2C Seamew  Observation landplane Design Patent D-137,610

Patent Diagrams for the Curtiss SO2C "Seamew "
(left) Floatplane version, Design patent D-126,523
(right) Landplane version, Design Patent D-137,610
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