Curtiss F7C Seahawk


F7C-1 Seahawk
Curtiss XF7C-1 NACA June 1929.jpg
The Curtiss XF7C-1 in June 1929
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
First flight 28 February 1927
Retired 1933
Primary user United States Marine Corps
Number built 17

The Curtiss F7C Seahawk was a carrier-capable biplane fighter aircraft of the United States Navy Marine Corps in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Design and development

Curtiss' Model 43 was their first aircraft designed expressly for the Navy, rather than a modified Army type. While clearly a descendant of the P-1 Hawk, its wings were constant-chord rather than tapered, and the upper wing had a slight sweepback. The engine was a 450 hp (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340-B Wasp radial. Entirely fabric-covered, the top wing was framed with spruce, while the fuselage was built from a combination of aluminum and steel tubing, sufficiently strong to serve as a dive bomber as well as a fighter.

Operational history

The prototype XF7C-1 first flew on 28 February 1927. After some modification demanded by the Navy (such as the wing sweepback), 17 production aircraft F7C-1 Seahawks were built, and entered service in the USMC's VF-5M at Quantico. In 1930 VF-9M organized the Marines' first aerobatic stunt team, "The Red Devils", with F7Cs featuring red painted noses.[1][2] They continued in service until 1933.


The XF7C-1 as a seaplane without the cowling.
  • XF7C-1: Prototype aircraft; one built.
  • F7C-1 Seahawk: Single-seat fighter aircraft, main production version; 17 built.
  • XF7C-2: Single F7C-1 conversion for evaluation with the 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-1 radial engine and large-span full-span flaps.
  • XF7C-3: A demonstration prototype for China with an armament of four .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns, I-type interplane struts, and ailerons on both the upper and lower wings rather than on just the upper wing. The type was superseded by the Model 64, F11C Goshawk.


 United States

Specifications (F7C-1)

Data from Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 22 ft 7.25 in (6.8898 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 8 in (9.35 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 8.5 in (2.959 m)
  • Wing area: 275 sq ft (25.5 m2)
  • Airfoil: Curtiss C-72[4]
  • Empty weight: 2,053 lb (931 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,768 lb (1,256 kg)
  • Powerplant: × Pratt & Whitney R-1340B Wasp 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 450 hp (340 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 155.5 mph (250.3 km/h, 135.1 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (240 km/h, 130 kn)
  • Range: 355 mi (571 km, 308 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 22,100 ft (6,700 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,860 ft/min (9.4 m/s)


See also



  1. ^ Skyways, July 2001, p. 60.
  2. ^ Barrow 1981, p. 49.
  3. ^ Bowers, Peter M. (1979). Curtiss aircraft, 1907-1947. London: Putnam. pp. 198–200. ISBN 0370100298.
  4. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.


  • Barrow, Jess C. WWII Marine Fighting Squadron Nine (VF-9M) (Modern Aviation Series). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books Inc., 1981. ISBN 978-0-8306-2289-4.
  • Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng, eds. cover The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Amber Books Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
  • Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Naval Fighters. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, 1977, pp. 50–52. ISBN 0-8168-9254-7.