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O-47
An O-47B at National Museum of the United States Air Force
Role Observation
Manufacturer North American Aviation
Introduced 1934
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 239[1]

The North American O-47 was an observation fixed-wing aircraft monoplane used by the United States Army Air Corps. It had a low-wing configuration, retractable landing gear and a three-blade propeller.

Contents

Design and development

A "red force" O-47B during manoeuvers in 1941.

The O-47 was developed as a replacement for the Thomas-Morse O-19 and Douglas O-38 observation biplanes. It was larger and heavier than most preceding observation aircraft and its crew of three sat in tandem under the long canopy. Windows in the deep belly overcame the obstacle that the wings presented to downward observation and photography. The design for the XO-47 prototype originated in 1934 with General Aviation, a subsidiary of North American Aviation, as the GA-15[2]. The Air Corps ordered 174 O-47s in 1937 to 1938, 93 of which were assigned to National Guard units. In 1938, the Army ordered 74 O-47Bs with a redesigned engine cowling for better cooling, a more powerful engine, and improved radio equipment.

Training maneuvers in 1941 demonstrated the shortcomings of the O-47. Light airplanes proved more capable of operating with ground troops, while fighters and twin-engine bombers showed greater ability to perform recon and photo duties. Thus, O-47s during World War II, except for those caught at overseas bases by the Japanese attacks, were relegated to such duties as towing targets, coastal patrol, and anti-submarine patrol[3].

Variants

XO-47
one built, serial number 36-145 in Dundalk, Maryland, 850 hp (634 kW) Wright R-1820-41 engine[1]
O-47A
164 built in Inglewood California, Wright R-1820-49 engine
O-47B
74 built, minor improvements and a 1,060 hp (790 kW) Wright R-1820-57 engine installed[3], plus an extra 50 gallon fuel tank[1]

Operators

 United States

Survivors

Specifications (0-47A)

Data from "United States Military Aircraft Since 1909" [3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: three
  • Length: 33 ft 7 in (10.24 m)
  • Wingspan: 46 ft 4 in (14.1 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 2 in (3.7 m)
  • Wing area: 350 ft2 (32.5 m2)
  • Empty weight: 5,980 lb (2,712.5 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,636 lb (3,463.6 kg)
  • Powerplant:Wright R-1820-49 radial, 975 hp (727 kW)

Performance

Armament

  • 1 × fixed forward-firing .30-cal (7.62 mm) machine gun (200 rounds) in wing
  • 1 × flexible .30-cal (7.62 mm) machine gun (600 rounds) in rear cockpit

See also

Comparable aircraft

References

  1. ^ a b c "U.S. Army Aircraft 1908-1946" by James C. Fahey, 1946, 64pp.
  2. ^ "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft" cover Editors: Paul Eden & Soph Moeng, (Amber Books Ltd. Bradley's Close, 74-77 White Lion Street, London, NI 9PF, 2002, ISBN 0-7607-3432-1), 1152 pp.
  3. ^ a b c "United States Military Aircraft Since 1909" by F. G. Swanborough & Peter M. Bowers (Putnam New York, ISBN 085177816X) 1964, 596 pp.

External links

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