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SO3C Seamew: Wikis


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SO3C Seamew
Role Observation floatplane
Manufacturer Curtiss
First flight 6 October 1939
Introduction 1942
Retired 1945
Primary users United States Navy
Fleet Air Arm
Number built 795

The Curtiss SO3C Seamew was intended as a replacement for the SOC Seagull as the United States Navy's standard floatplane scout. Entering service in 1942, the type suffered a variety of problems, primarily with the Ranger XV-770 engine which was a dismal failure, and was withdrawn by 1944. Among its many flaws, part of the vertical tail was attached to the sliding aft canopy, compromising the aircraft's stability when the aft canopy was in the open position, which it often needed to be for spotting.


Royal Navy service

A Royal Navy Seamew Mk I.

A number of the SO3C-1s, not a floatplane but a fixed undercarriage version, were ordered by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm under the terms of Lend-Lease. In RN service the SO3C was given the designation "Seamew" a name used again in the 1950s for the Short Seamew. Crews gave it the more appropriate name "Sea Cow".

The first batch for the RN had a centreline bomb rack and arrestor gear. Later versions, known as the Seamew 1, were the SO3-2C variant. 250 Seamews were delivered, the last batch was refused in favour of additional Vought Kingfishers. Deliveries to the RN started in January 1944. It was declared obsolete in September the same year and completey removed from service in 1945.

The SO3-1K was to have been taken into service as the Queen Seamew, but an order of 30 was cancelled.

Seamews served with No. 744 NAS, No. 745 NAS at RCAF Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Canada, and No. 755 NAS based in Hampshire, UK.


An SO3C-3 is catapulted from the USS Biloxi, October 1943.
 United States
 United Kingdom

Specifications (SO3C-2)

Data from American Warplanes of World War II[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m)
  • Wing area: 290 ft² (26.9 m²)
  • Empty weight: 4,284 lb (1,943 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 5,729 lb (2,599 kg)
  • Powerplant:Ranger XV-770-8 inverted V-12, 600 hp (447 kW)



See also


  1. ^ Donald, David (Editor) (1995). American Warplanes of World War II. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1 874023 72 7.  
  2. ^ Thetford, Owen (1994). British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Fourth Edition ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 85177 861 5.  

External links



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