SOC Seagull, U.S. Reconnaissance Float Plane

Photograph of SOC Seagull

National Archives #80-G-5885

Curtiss SOC-3 Seagull


Dimensions 36' by 32'3" by 14'10"
10.97m by 9.83m by 4.52m
Wing area 342 square feet
31.8 square meters
Weight 3648-5302 lbs
1655-2405 kg
Maximum speed       154 mph (248 km/h) at 5000 feet (1520 meters)
159 mph (256 km/h) at sea level
Landing speed 55 mph
89 km/h
Climb rate 16 feet per second
4.9 meters per second
Service ceiling 14,200 feet
4330 meters
Power plant 1 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340-22 engine
Armament 1 0.30 fixed nose machine gun with 550 rounds
1 0.30 flexible rear cockpit machine gun with 600 rounds
External stores 2 116 lb (53kg) bombs or 1 325 lb (147kg) depth charge
Range 840-1000 miles
Fuel 140-70 gallons
530-265 liters
About 330 by 1938

The Curtiss SOC Seagull was the standard seaplane used on U.S. cruisers during the Pacific War. It was equipped with folding wings to facilitate storage in small cruiser hangars. Its floats could be swapped for landing gear to allow it to operate from carriers and airfields.

The prototype first flew in 1934 and production began the next year. Production ceased by 1938 and a replacement was badly needed for the rapidly aging aircraft, but this failed to materialize for some time. The monoplane OS2U Kingfisher was used on battleships, where folding wings were not required, while the SO3C was a failure and the SC Seahawk did not come out until quite late in the war.


Gunston (1986)

Naval Historical Center (accessed 2009-11-6)

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