Curtiss 97 / SC Seahawk



Development of the Curtiss SC Seahawk began in June 1942, when the US Navy requested the company to submit proposals for an advanced wheel/float scout aircraft. An easily convertible landing gear configuration was required so that the aircraft could be operated from aircraft carriers and land bases, or be catapulted from battleships. The type was required to replace the rather similar Curtiss Seamew and Vought Kingfisher which stemmed from a 1937 role. The Curtiss Model 97 design proposal was submitted on 1 August 1942 but it was not until 31 March 1943 that a contract for two XSC-1 (Model 97A) prototypes was issued.
An all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane, the SC Seahawk had folding wings with considerable dihedral on their outer panels and strut-mounted wingtip stabiliser floats. The central float, which could also accommodate some auxiliary fuel, and the main wheeled landing gear units shared common attachment points. Power was a Wright R-1820-62 Cyclone 9 radial engine.
The first prototype made its maiden flight on 16 February 1944, and was followed by 500 production SC-1 (Model 97B) aircraft which had been contracted from June 1943. All were delivered as land-planes, the stabiliser floats and Edo central float being purchased separately and installed as and when required by the US Navy. Delivery of production aircraft began in October 1944, the first equipping units aboard the USS Guam. A second batch of 450 SC-1s was contracted, but of these only 66 had been delivered before contract cancellation at VJ-Day.
An improved version was developed, changes including the installation of a 1063kW R-1820-76 engine, a clear blown canopy, and a jump seat behind the pilot. The modified prototype, at first designated XSC-1A and then XSC-2 (Model 97C), led to a contract for similar production SC-2 (Model 97D), but only 10 had been delivered by the war's end.

XSC-1 - Prototype Designation; two examples produced.

SC-1 - Initial Produciton Model Designation; 566 examples produced; introduced in 1944.

SC-2 - Improved two-seat SC-1; nine examples produced; appearing in 1946.

Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk
Engine: 1 x Wright R-1820-62 Cyclone radial, 1,350 hp / 1007kW
Wingspan: 12.50 m / 41 ft 0 in
Length: 11.09 m / 36 ft 5 in
Height: 3.89 m / 12 ft 9 in
Wing area: 26.01 sq.m / 279.97 sq ft
Wing load: 32.19 lb/sq.ft / 157.0 kg/sq.m
Max. speed: 272 kt / 504 km/h / 313 mph
Cruise speed: 201 km/h / 125 mph
Maximum Range: 631miles (1,016km)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,500ft/min (762m/min)
Service Ceiling: 37,303ft (11,370m)
2 x 0.50 cal (12.7mm) fixed, forward-firing heavy machine guns.
2 x 100- or 250lb general purpose bombs held underwing.
Crew: 1
Hardpoints: 2
Empty Weight: 6,321lbs (2,867kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 8,999lbs (4,082kg)