The Curtiss Model 85 was the last heavy observation type to be purchased by the Army at $50,826.00 in 1939. The Owl was used for record-setting map and survey flights.
Inward folding doors in the observers cockpit provided for twin camera ports. A retractable turtle back, created for the SOCSeagull, was used to provide a maximum field of fire for the observers .30 cal machine gun.
The O-birds quickly fell from favor as they were an easy target and their duties were passed on to faster, more heavily armed fighter-bombers.
While in Brooks, Texas on January 10, 1942, it is of record that 2nd Lt. George Sloan ground looped while taxiing and severely damaged this aircraft.
|DISPLAY STATUS||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||CURRENT LOCATION|
|Own||United States||Legends Hangar|
|PURPOSE & TYPE||MATERIALS||ERA & DATE RANGE|
|Surveillance||Steel||World War II
1939 – 1945
First Produced: 1940
Number Built: 203 total
Armament: (1) .30 caliber machine gun through prop; (1) .30 caliber flex mount in observer’s position
Acquired by Yanks from the Experimental Aircraft Association and restored, this is the only airworthy Owl in existence.
Wing Area: 210 sq ft
Empty Weight: 4,231 lbs
Gross Weight: 5,364 lbs
Powerplant: P/W R1340-51
Cruise Speed: 192 mph
Maximum Speed: 220 mph
Range: 700 miles
|Delivered: August 27, 1941
Aug 1941 – 108th Observation Sqd, Chicago, AP IL
Oct 1941 – Observer Training School Brooks AAF, TX
Oct 1943 – 99th Sub Depot Sioux Falls AAF, SD.
Aug 1944 – Cimmaron Field, OK to dispose as surplus
Stricken: August 1944