TYPE: Scout observation airplane, trainer
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and observer
POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-1340-18 radial engine, rated at 550 hp
PERFORMANCE: 165 mph at 5,000 ft
COMMENT: The Curtiss SOC “Seagull” was an American single-engine scout observation biplane aircraft, designed by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation for the US Navy. The aircraft served on battleships and cruisers in a seaplane configuration, being launched by catapult and recovered from a sea landing. The wings folded back against the fuselage for storage aboard ship. When delivered from factory or based ashore or on carriers the single float was replaced by fixed wheeled landing gear.
The SOC was ordered for production by the US Navy in 1933 and first entered service in 1935. The first order was for 135 SOC-1 models, which was followed by 40 SOC-2 models for landing operations and 83 SOC-3s. A variant of the SOC-3 was built by the Naval Aircraft Factory and was known as the SON-1
The SOC was not called the “Seagull” until 1941, when the U.S. Navy began the wholesale adoption of popular names for aircraft in addition to their alpha-numeric designations (Ref.:24).