O-47 Observation Monoplane

O-47 Observation Monoplane The O-47 Observation Monoplane began as Model GA-15 because it was on drawing board in 1934 when General Aviation Manufacturing Corp. evolved into North American Aviation. The single-engine, mid-wing observation monoplane was developed to meet U.S. Army Air Force requirements and made its first flight designated XO-47. It was of all-metal construction with retractable landing gear.

The subsequent production model O-47s were built with the North American Aviation designation of NA-25 at the Inglewood, Calif., plant. The O-47As were powered by a 975-horsepower engine, while the subsequent O-47Bs carried more fuel and were powered by a 1,060-horsepower engine. The O-47 used a downward firing gun, and because the observer was stationed in a special compartment in the lower fuselage, the airplane had a swollen appearance.

North American produced 238 O-47s between 1936 and 1939. They saw little operational service, however, after America entered World War II, although a few were used from overseas bases and as submarine patrols off the U.S. coasts. During the war, O-47s were used mainly as trainers and target tugs. After the war, a few O-47Bs were modified as single-seat commercial airplanes with the center and rear seats removed so they could carry cargo.

First flight: November 1935
Span: 46 feet 3.6 inches
Length: 33 feet 3 inches
Height: 12 feet 0.5 inches
Wing area: 348.6 square feet
Weight: 7,593 pounds loaded
Power plant: 975-horsepower R-1820-49 engine
Speed: 223 mph maximum; 200 mph cruising
Range: 900 miles
Service ceiling: 23,200 feet
Crew: Three
Armament: One .30-caliber machine gun in right wing, one flexible .30-caliber machine gun in dorsal mount