WWII Pacific Theater of War in Color: Curtiss SC Seahawk Scout seaplane in Vibrant Color! 1944


The Curtis SC Seahawk was a scout aircraft designed by the Curtiss Aeroplane Company for use in the Pacific Theater of Operations in 1944.  Only 577 were built and these planes are rarely seen in color, especially while stationed overseas.  Some experts argue that this was the best US float plane used during WWII.


This photo was snapped by a Navy fighter pilot in 1945 on Guam.  The original color slide is now in my collection. A rare addition!




Here are some internet facts I found about the SC-1:http://www.usslittlerock.org/Armament/SC-1_Aircraft.html

The Aircraft
The Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk was designed to meet the need for a reconnaissance seaplane that could be launched from US Navy battleships and cruisers. Designed as a single-seat aircraft the SC-1 could theoretically hold its’ own against enemy fighters.

The SC-1 was the last of the scout observation types and was the most highly developed with vastly improved performance over earlier types. Power, range and armament had doubled its usefulness. It was highly maneuverable, had two forward firing .50 cal. guns, large flaps and automatic leading edge slats for improved slow speed characteristics, and radar carried on the underside of the starboard wing proved highly successful during search missions. Space needed aboard ship was minimized by folding the wings back manually, making the overall width equal to the span of the horizontal tail surfaces.

Built in Columbus, Ohio, the SC-1 was initially fitted out with a fixed wheel undercarriage, then was ferried to Naval bases, where floats were attached.

The SC-1 was liked by some pilots and disliked by others, but generally well accepted. It could out climb an F6F “Hellcat” to 6,000 ft. and out-turn the F8F “Bearcat”.

Losses with the “Seahawk” were high, caused mostly by the extremely hazardous conditions in which they operated. With too hard a water landing the engine would drop, the propeller cutting through the float. Several mishaps occurred due to a faulty auto-pilot system. Aircraft and pilots were lost due to unknown landing accidents. It wasn’t until one pilot “walked away”, that it was discovered that the auto-pilot was taking over on landings. As a result, all automatic pilot systems were made inoperative on all SC’s. (For more information see U.S.S. Little Rock “Collision at Sea and other Underway Hazardspage.)

During the height of their career, crews aboard ship looked with pleasure at the “Seahawks” aft on the catapults as their “Quarterdeck Messerschmitts”.

The SC-1 first flew in February 1944 and 950 were ordered, later decreased to 566 because of the Victory in the Pacific. It continued in service for a number of years after the war as trainers, eventually being replaced by helicopters.

Curtiss SC-1 Profile Drawing

(Click drawing for a larger view)

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