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Old 02-17-2011, 03:33 AM   #1
copeab's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: near Houston
Default [WWII] Curtiss O-1 Falcon observation plane (USA)

Okay, not actually used in WWII, but one version is famous for killing King Kong ;)
Curtiss O-1 Falcon observation plane
Copyright 2011 by Brandon Cope

The Curtiss O-1 was an American late 1920's observation biplane that was developed into attack versions used by the Army, Navy and Marines. It never saw combat in US service, but was used by three South American countries (Brazil, Bolivia, and Columbia) in three different regional wars. It was also operated by Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines.

A total of 127 O-1's of various subtypes were built, with four converted to VIP transports. Forty-one of these were the O-1E.

The O-1E has a crew of two: pilot (who also fires the forward machine guns) and observer (who fires the two rear machine guns). The O-1E uses 14.6 gallons of aviation fuel per hour.

Subassemblies: Light Fighter chassis +3, Light Fighter Wings with* Biplane option +2, three fixed wheels +0
P&P: 324-kW aerial HP gasoline engine w/ 324-kW old prop with 113-gallon tank [Body]; 4000-kWs batteries
Occ: 2 XCS Cargo: 1 Body

Body/Wings: 2/2 C

Aircraft LMG/Browning [Body:F] (500)
2xAircraft LMG/Lewis [Body:B] (470 each)*
*link fires both guns

Body: Recon camera, autopilot, navigation instruments, 500;b hardpoint.

Size: 27'x38'x11'
Payload: 0.82 tons
LWt: 2.16 tons
Volume: 144
Maint.: 76 hours
Price: $7,000

HT: 10.
HP: 100 [body], 68 [each wing] , 10 [each wheel]

aSpeed: 141
aAccel: 4
aDecel: 23
aMR: 5.5
aSR: 1
Stall: 64 mph. -1 mph per loaded hardpoint.

Design Notes
Design aSpeed was 155 mph and Stall 49 mph. Historical wing surface area was 353 sf. The body and wings use the Cloth Armor option. To get more realistic numbers, wing cost, weight and HP were halved while chassis cost, weight and HP were doubled. Design weight was increased by 3%.

Stats assume an optional 56 gallon drop tank is fitted. Without the drop tank, stats become: aSpeed 142, Stall 61, aMR 6.25, aDecel 25.

A radio wasn't installed until the O-1G of 1931, but was probably refitted to planes still in service.

The 38 Chilean Falcons were the same as the O-1E. In 1932, nine were sold to Brazil. Columbia received 23 radial-engined Falcons, which were armed similar to the A-3 but with one less nose gun. Top speed was 182 mph. They were capable of using wheels or twin floats. Bomb load was four 110-lb bombs under the wings. The nine Bolivian and ten Peruvian Falcons were similar to the Columbian planes, but lacked the wing guns.

The A-3 (1928) was a ground attack version, with a second Browning in the nose, a second Lewis in the observer position, and two Brownings added under the lower wings. There was also provision for 200 lbs of bombs instead of the drop tank Sixty-six A-3 and 78 A-3B were built, with six A-3A trainers (with dual controls) converted from A-3's, for a total of 144 planes. The last American A-3B was retired with reserve units in 1937.

The F8C was a version of the A-3 used by the Navy and Marines, with the inline liquid-cooled engines replaced by radial air-cooled engines (while radial engines create more drag, they are more reliable, a major factor in naval aviation). Six F8C-1 and 21 F8C-3's were built, but these were shortly redesignated OC-1 and OC-2 as their roles changed from attack to observation. The F8C was the plane used to attack King Kong in the 1933 and 2005 movies.

The O2C-1 (F8C-5) Helldiver was similar to the Falcon, but with a smaller wing and fitted with equipment for carrier operations (such as an arrestor hook) . It carried one 500-lb under the body or two 112-lb bombs under the wings. Sixty-three were built, as well as an additional 25 similar F8C-4's (O2C). All moved the wing guns from the lower to upper wings.
A generous and sadistic GM,
Brandon Cope

GURPS 3e stuff:

Last edited by copeab; 04-04-2011 at 03:22 AM. Reason: spelling error in title
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:22 AM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: [WWII] Curtiss O-1 Falcon observation plane (USA)

Always enjoy the interwar stuff.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:37 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Oregon
Default Re: [WWII] Curtiss O-1 Falcon observation plane (USA)

Looks good. This reminds me of the recent "Guerrilla Air Force" thread, since this plane's origin (1920's) and availability would make it an ideal candidate for small scale inter-war conflicts. Although it needs a full runway for takeoff, the low Stall and high aDecel would help it land at short or makeshift runways (just 45 yards!). This could enable it to launch from a secret airbase, perform a mission, then depart in another direction to land at a temporary site and foil detection of the base.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:56 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Udine, Italy
Default Re: [WWII] Curtiss O-1 Falcon observation plane (USA)

Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
Looks good.

This reminds me of the recent "Guerrilla Air Force" thread, since this plane's origin (1920's) and availability would make it an ideal candidate for small scale inter-war conflicts.
Yes, as mentioned by Brandon, it was more than a candidate - it was actually used in that way. For instance in the Chaco War. Colombia among its users should ring a bell!
Michele Armellini
GURPS Locations: St. George's Cathedral
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aircraft, cliffhangers, observation, wwii

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