In 1940 the U.S. Army Air Corps ordered 203 Curtiss O-52s for observation duties -- signified by the designation "O" -- and used them for military maneuvers within the continental United States. Upon America's entry into World War II, however, the U.S. Army Air Forces realized that the airplane lacked the performance necessary for combat operations overseas. As a result, the Army relegated the O-52 to stateside courier duties and short-range submarine patrols off the coasts of the United States.
The O-52 was the last "O" type airplane procured in quantity for the Army. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Forces cancelled the "O" designation and adopted "L" for the liaison type airplanes that replaced it.
The airplane on display was obtained from the U.S. Federal Reformatory at Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1962. It was restored by the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Armament: One forward and one rearward firing .30-cal. machine gun
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-1340-51 of 600 hp
Maximum speed: 215 mph
Range: 455 miles
Ceiling: 23,200 ft.
Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.
|Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.