The Curtiss O-52 Owl was an observation aircraft used by
the United States Army Air Corps before and during World War II.

Curtiss O-52 Owls "1940"

RoleReconnaissance
ManufacturerCurtiss-Wright
First flight1940
Introduction1941
Primary usersUnited States Army Air Corps
Soviet Air Forces
Number built203

 

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Curtiss O-52
Owls "1940"

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Curtiss O-52
Owls "1940"

The Curtiss O-52 Owl was an observation aircraft used by the United States Army Air Corps before and during World War II.

Developed in 1939, the Curtiss O-52 was the last “heavy” observation aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps. The concept of the two-seat observation aircraft, classed as the “O” series aircraft, dated to World War I, and in 1940, the Army Air Corps ordered 203 Curtiss O-52s for observation duties. By 1941, the O-52 was no match for modern combat conditions.

Design

Upon delivery, the aircraft was used in military maneuvers with the USAAC, but following America’s entry into World War II, the USAAF determined that the aircraft did not possess sufficient performance for “modern” combat operations in overseas areas. As a result, the O-52 was relegated to courier duties within the U.S. and short-range submarine patrol over the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The O-52 was the last “O” type aircraft procured in quantity for the Air Corps. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the “O” designation was discontinued and the “L” series for liaison-type aircraft was adopted instead.

In November 1942, the USSR ordered 30 O-52 Owls through the Lend-Lease program. Twenty-six were shipped, with only 19 delivered as a number were lost on the North Arctic Route

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Curtiss O-52 Owls "1940"

Surviving aircraft

Specifications

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 26 ft 4.25 in (8.0328 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 9 in (12.42 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 11.5 in (3.035 m)
  • Wing area: 210 sq ft (20 m2)
  • Empty weight: 4,231 lb (1,919 kg)
  • Gross weight: 5,364 lb (2,433 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-51 Wasp 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 600 hp (450 kW)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed metal propeller
  • Maximum speed: 220 mph (350 km/h, 190 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 192 mph (309 km/h, 167 kn) at 75% power
  • Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m)

Armament

  • Guns: 1 × fixed forward-firing 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun and 1 × 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine-gun on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit

Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

The Curtiss O-52 Owl was an observation aircraft used by
the United States Army Air Corps before and during World War II.