Curtiss F12C/ XS4C/ XSBC (Model 73)

The Curtiss F12C/ XS4C/ XSBC (Model 73) was a two-seat parasol wing aircraft that went through a series of designations before being destroyed in a crash. The aircraft was originally ordered by the Navy on 30 June 1932 as a two-seat fighter, largely based on the O-40 Raven observation aircraft.

It was a two-seat all-metal aircraft (apart from fabric covered control surfaces), with a folding parasol wing. It was originally powered by a twin-row Wright SGR-1510-92 air cooled radial engine but this was soon replaced by a 775hp twin-row Wright R-1670 engine. The aircraft had retractable wheels that pulled up into the forward fuselage, giving it a rather bulbous look. The XF12C made its maiden flight in July 1933, and was tested by the Navy in October (after the change of engine).

The aircraft wasn't accepted as a fighter, but the Navy decided to give it another chance as a scout, with the new designation XS4C-1. The engine was changed again, to the Wright SR-1820-80 Cyclone, and the modified aircraft was tested in December 1933. In January 1934 it was given its final designation in the new Scout-Bomber class, as the XSBC-1. This version of the aircraft survived until September 1934, when it was destroyed during a test flight (the pilot escaped safely).

Curtiss asked for permission to replace it with a new aircraft. The new aircraft was a biplane, and was given the designation XSBC-2. It was the prototype for the SBC Helldiver, the last American combat biplane. Curtiss later designated the earlier aircraft as the Model 73, while the Helldiver became the Model 77.

Engine: Wright R-1510-92 Twin Whirlwind two-row radia
Power: 625hp at 6,000ft
Crew: 2
Span: 41ft 6in
Length: 29ft 1in
Height: 12ft 11in
Empty weight: 3,884lb
Normal loaded weight: 5,461lb
Max speed: 217mph at 6,000ft
Range: 738 miles

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 February 2013), Curtiss F12C/ XS4C/ XSBC (Model 73) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_curtiss_F12C_S4C_SBC.html

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