Drawing - Paul Matt - Douglas O-38

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Brand Kiona Publishing, Inc.

The Douglas O-38 was designed as an observation airplane and used by the United States Army Air Corps.

Between 1931 and 1934, Douglas built 156 O-38s for the Air Corps, eight of which were O-38Fs. Some were still in service at the time of the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941.

The O-38 is a modernized derivative of the O-25, itself a re-engined variant of the earlier Douglas O-2.

Variants:

  • O-38 - Derivative of the Curtiss Conqueror-engined O-25 but with a 525-hp (391-kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radial engine and Townend ring cowling; the National Guard received 44 production aircraft
  • O-38A - Single unarmed O-38 staff liaison aircraft for the National Guard
  • O-38B - Derivative of the O-38 with an R-1690-5 engine; total production was 63, comprising 30 for USAAC observation squadrons and 33 for the National Guard
  • O-38C - Single aircraft similar to the O-38B for use by US Coast Guard
  • O-38E - Had a wider and deeper fuselage on the lines of the private-venture O-38S, with a sliding canopy over the cockpits and a 625-hp (466-kW) R-1690-13 radial engine driving a metal propeller; could be operated on twin Edo floats; the National Guard took delivery of 37 such aircraft
  • O-38F - Eight unarmed staff liaison aircraft delivered to the National Guard in 1933 with an R-1690-9 engine and a revised, fully enclosed canopy
  • O-38P - Almost identical to the E/F series. Six aircraft delivered to Perú in February 1933, fitted with Edo floats; three took part in the conflict against Colombia, and took part in air combats against Colombian Curtiss F-11C Hawk IIs, one being lost as consequence of damage received during those clashes. Survivors were converted to wheels, and served as trainers until 1940.
  • O-38S - Private-venture development of the O-38 with a wider and deeper fuselage, crew canopy and a smooth-cowled 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-E Cyclone radial engine; in effect was the prototype of the O-38E

Specifications:

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 32 ft (9.75 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft (12.2 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 8 in. (3.25 m)
  • Wing area: 371 ft2 (34.5 m2)
  • Empty weight: 3,072 lb (1,393 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 4,458 lb (2,022 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 5,401 lb maximum (2,500 kg)
  • Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-1690-5, 525 hp (391.5 kW)
  • Maximum airspeed: 149 mph (240 km/h)
  • Cruise airspeed: 128 mph (206 km/h)
  • Range: 563 miles (906 km)
  • Service ceiling: 19,750 ft (6,020 m)
  • Rate of climb: 943.4 ft/min (287.5 m/min)

Armament:

  • 2 - .30-cal (7.62-mm) machine guns, one fixed forward-firing and one flexible plus 4 - 100 lb bombs

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