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Collection

Curtiss 85 Owl (O-52)

The Curtiss Model 85 was the last heavy observation type to be purchased by the Army at $50,826.00 in 1939. The Owl was used for record-setting map and survey flights.

Inward folding doors in the observers cockpit provided for twin camera ports. A retractable turtle back, created for the SOCSeagull, was used to provide a maximum field of fire for the observers .30 cal machine gun.

The O-birds quickly fell from favor as they were an easy target and their duties were passed on to faster, more heavily armed fighter-bombers.

While in Brooks, Texas on January 10, 1942, it is of record that 2nd Lt. George Sloan ground looped while taxiing and severely damaged this aircraft.

Acquired by Yanks from the Experimental Aircraft Association and restored, this is the only airworthy Owl in existence.

Service History

Delivered: August 27, 1941

Aug 1941 - 108th Observation Sqd, Chicago, AP IL

Oct 1941 - Observer Training School Brooks AAF, TX

Oct 1943 - 99th Sub Depot Sioux Falls AAF, SD.

Aug 1944 - Cimmaron Field, OK to dispose as surplus

Stricken: August 1944

MFG: Curtiss

First Produced: 1940

Powerplant: P/W R1340-51

Horsepower: 600

Prop: Hamilton Standard

Service Ceiling: 21,000 ft.

Cruise: 192 mph

Top Speed: 220 mph

Range: 700 miles

Empty Weight: 4,231 lbs

Gross Weight: 5,364 lbs

Wing Span: 40’9”

Wing Area: 210 sq. ft.

Length: 26’4”

Height: 9’3”

Armament: (1) .30 cal machine

gun through prop, (1)

.30 cal flex mount in observers

position

Number Built: 203 total


 
Acquired by Yanks from the Experimental Aircraft Association and restored, this is the only airworthy Owl in existence.