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North American O-47B

20 May 2013

North American O-47B

— photo by Joseph May

North American O-47 in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

Built to replace biplane observation and scout aircraft the North American O-47 was quickly surpassed with the rapid development of aircraft designs during Woorl War II. The design was sound for the pre war years with a crew of three seated in tandem and windows in the pronounced “belly bump” for clearer observation of the ground. The O-47 was not assigned an official name but could fly as quickly as 227 mph (365kph) and as high as 24,100 feet (7345m) for as far as 840 miles (1350km) — pulled along by a Wright R-1820 radial engine. Unsuited as it was to observation and scouting missions in the combat environments of World War II the O-47 found service as a utility aircraft as well as target tug.

This O-47B is exhibited within the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force which also provides this fact sheet.

— photo by Joseph May

The O-47 has an extended belly with observation windows to better inspect the ground from the air — photo by Joseph May

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 May 2013 06:37

    Thanks, Joe. The fact sheet did not explain the red roundel on the fuselage. It’s a wonder the Air Guard pilots didn’t shoot it down instead of aiming for the target it was towing!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      20 May 2013 08:08

      Yes, especially since it looks too similar to the Japanese “red meatball” used on their aircraft during World War II!

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