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Photo ID: 1041008
click image to enlarge
Model: O-47B, NA-25 Registration: N4725V
Year: 1939 Serial Number: 25-554
Engine: Wright R1820 Owner: Adams Aircraft?
Location: Visalia, California, probably Sequoia Field Photographer: Unknown
Date: 1956, November Present Registration: N4725V Present Owner (FAA info): Planes of Fame, Inc., Chino, CA
Notes: : 8/27/03 - The North American O-47, O-47A and O-47B were built specifically as observation aircraft (thus the "O" in the military model designation). In fact, the 1938 "Jane's" says, "This aircraft is claimed to be one of the first to be designed with the specific requirements of the observer in mind." Survival must have been one of the things they had in mind. The aircraft were to be used in anti-submarine warfare at times, and Jane's says it has "Watertight compartments in the outer wings for floatation"!!

The O-47B is set up for a three man crew in tandem. Wingspan is 46' and maximum takeoff weight, 8312-lb. Some sources would say they are North American model NA-25, other NA-51.

A nice write up on the North American O-47B is available on the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum site, Click Here. The Smithsonian also has an aircraft, with info click here.

According to Boeing, "The O-47As were powered by a 975-horsepower engine, while the subsequent O-47Bs carried more fuel and were powered by a 1,060-horsepower engine. The O-47 used a downward firing gun, and because the observer was stationed in a special compartment in the lower fuselage, the airplane had a swollen appearance. North American produced 238 O-47s between 1936 and 1939. They saw little operational service, however, after America entered World War II, although a few were used from overseas bases and as submarine patrols off the U.S. coasts. During the war, O-47s were used mainly as trainers and target tugs. After the war, a few O-47Bs were modified as single-seat commercial airplanes with the center and rear seats removed so they could carry cargo."

These photos, dated November 1956, are in my brother Karl's and my collection. They were sent to our father, Chris D. Stoltzfus, by someone in California who made Stearman spray tanks and "450" engine mounts. I highly suspect it was Adams Aircraft at Sequoia Field, Visalia. The aircraft was obviously being used as a sprayer at the time. It had been converted from the 1060-HP Wright, 9-cylinder, R1820 radial that it was built with, to the R1820-97, 1200-HP version as used in the B-17.

In 1967 the aircraft was registered to Air Museum, Claremont, CA, and in 1976 to Planes of Fame Inc., Buena Park, CA.

An NTSB accident report says that this aircraft was involved in a wheels-up landing at Porterville, CA, on June 11, 1982. Five persons were on board, with no reported injuries. A fire started, and "No fire equipment was readily available", but the report does not say how serious the damage was. The aircraft is presently registered to Planes of Fame, Inc., in Chino, CA. I called them to ask about the status of the aircraft, and if it was destroyed in the accident or being rebuilt. The lady said "It is being rebuilt. Okay!" Click. Maybe someone, somewhere, can tell us more!
 

Photo ID: 1041009
click image to enlarge
Notes: Note the rollover structure just behind the pilot, to protect the crew in case it flipped over.

The back of this photo says, "North American O-47B. Engine 1820-97. Tank capacity 500+ (too #@!* much). Loaded working speed 125 to 225-MPH. Will dump full load of 615 gallons in 9-seconds. Not for sale. Will lease on acreage with pilot and insurance."
Photographer: Unknown
 

Photo ID: 1041009
click image to enlarge
Notes: The O-47B landing gear retracts outward into the wing, similar to the Grumman TBM. (Actually, there is a lot of visible similarity between this aircraft and the TBM!)

Note the big, wind-driven spray pump under there and the spray boom back under the horizontal tail! The main boom is apparently inside the wings, with extensions protruding through the lower skin.

A belly landing in this baby, especially with the pump and dump valve hanging down there, would be quite a balancing act. I think the pilot would be "along for the ride"!
Photographer: Unknown
 
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