Curtiss F7C Seahawk
|The Curtiss XF7C-1 in June 1929|
|Manufacturer||Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company|
|First flight||28 February 1927|
|Primary user||United States Marine Corps|
Design and development
Curtiss' Model 43 was their first aircraft designed expressly for the Navy, rather than a modified Army type. While clearly a descendant of the P-1 Hawk, its wings were constant-chord rather than tapered, and the upper wing had a slight sweepback. The engine was a 450 hp (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B Wasp radial. Entirely fabric-covered, the top wing was framed with spruce, while the fuselage was built from a combination of aluminum and steel tubing, sufficiently strong to serve as a dive bomber as well as a fighter.
The prototype XF7C-1 first flew on 28 February 1927. After some modification demanded by the Navy (such as the wing sweepback), 16 production aircraft F7C-1 Seahawks were built, and entered service in the USMC's VF-5M at Quantico. In 1930 VF-9M organized the Marine's first aerobatic stunt team, "The Red Devils", with F7Cs featuring red painted noses. They continued in service until 1933.
- XF7C-1: Prototype aircraft; one built.
- F7C-1 Seahawk: Singe-seat fighter aircraft, main production version; 17 built.
- XF7C-2: Single F7C-1 conversion for evaluation with the 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-1 radial engine and large-span full-span flaps.
- XF7C-3: A demonstration prototype for China with an armament of four .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns, I-type interplane struts, and ailerons on both the upper and lower wings rather than on just the upper wing. The type was superseded by the Model 64, F11C Goshawk.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 22.6 ft (6.88 m)
- Wingspan: 32.67 ft (9.34 m)
- Height: 9.71 ft (2.96 m)
- Wing area: 275 ft² (25.55 m²)
- Empty weight: 2,053 lb (931 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,782 lb (1,262 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B Wasp radial engine, 450 hp (336 kW)
- Maximum speed: 155 mph (249 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 150 mph (241 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 22,100 ft (6735 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,860 ft/min (9.45 m/s)
- Skyways, July 2001, p. 60.
- Barrow 1981, p. 49.
- Barrow, Jess C. WWII Marine Fighting Squadron Nine (VF-9M) (Modern Aviation Series). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1981. ISBN 978-0-8306-2289-4.
- Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng, eds. cover The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Amber Books Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
- Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Naval Fighters. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, 1977, pp. 50–52. ISBN 0-8168-9254-7.
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