American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

Search our site for other combat planes.
A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Curtiss Falcon

Page 1

Curtiss Falcons
While the Curtiss Falcon came second in the observation competition, it seemed to hold first place in the public imagination, possibly both because of its sharp-look ing engine cowl and swept-back upper wing and the appropriate name given it by company publicity. WRIGHT XO-3 CURTISS XO-1

Designed by Rex Beisel, the XO-l prototype was tested with a Liberty engine by Lt. Harold Harris on November 30, 1924, and showed “remarkably high performance,” excellent flying qualities, and “handled exactly like a pursuit plane.” Doubts were raised by the observation board about its suitability for “average pilots,” and the maintenance of its riveted duralumin tube fuselage structure. The board suggested a service test purchase of the Curtiss type.

On December 1, 1924, the XO-l, like the XO-2, was also tested with the Packard lA-1500, and although the Curtiss competitor’s performance was best, no order for that version was placed. The Wright XO-3 tested on Janu­ary 23, 1925, was a double-bay biplane with an experimental Wright V-1950 engine. It was not purchased by the Army, and the Wright company abandoned efforts at aircraft construction to concentrate quite successfully on engines. Another observation project of the period, a Liberty-powered Martin XO-4, was canceled before completion.

Ten Curtiss Falcons were ordered for service test, the first appearing in February 1926 with the small and neatly cowled Curtiss D-12 (V-1150), while the ninth was tested in October 1926 as the O-lA with a 430-hp Liberty, and ­another became the XO-11. That Liberty version was first ordered in 1926 for observation squadrons as the O-11. Sixty-six O-11s went into service in 1927-28, armed with the one .30-caliber fixed and twin .30-caliber flexible guns usual on observation planes. They served with the 5th, 12th and 99th Squadrons, as well as with the National Guard. CURTISS O-l

As for the Army’s attack units, a board convened on August 2, 1926 had agreed that the Curtiss was the most suitable model until a more satisfactory type could be developed. On February 2, 1927, 65 Falcons were ordered, and a September contract added 36 more. They were delivered as 76 A-3, 21 O-lB, and four O-lC Falcons, the latter being unarmed official transports. CURTISS O-l

The first A-3 was ready by October 31, 1927. A 435-hp Curtiss D-12D engine was under the smooth cowling, the radiator was underneath, and a neat prop spinner gave the nose the characteristic “Eversharp pencil” appearance. The wood-frame wings used the Clark Y airfoil, with the upper wing swept back from a straight center section, while the lower wings were straight. There were two M1921 Browning guns in the nose, two wing guns firing forward, and two flexible Lewis rear guns. All were .30-caliber, with 400 rounds provided for the wing guns and 600 rounds for the others. Wing racks for 200 pounds of fragmentation bombs were attached, or a 56-gallon auxiliary tank could be carried behind the tunnel radiator.

Weapons were removed and dual controls installed on six A-3s, which became the A-3A trainers. The second A-3 was completed with the new air-cooled Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial and tested in May 1928 as the XA-4. Twenty-one O-lB observation versions were similar to the A-3, but had only one Browning gun firing forward.

[ B- 24 / Home ]   [Continue]

Want information on other Combat Planes?   Search the rest of our site.


© Copyright 2010   AmericanCombatPlanes.com   All rights reserved.