North American O-47

The O-47 was a single-engined, three-person observation and army cooperation aircraft designed by North American when it was still known as General Aircraft.  First flown in November 1935, the design showed a good deal of Jack Northrop influence in its general shape and structure.  Previous army cooperation aircraft had been light, simple and maneuverable.  The O-47 was heavier, larger and more advanced, with metal construction and retractable landing gear.  Although 239 were built, the type generally was not successful in service.

O-47B 39-098

This privately owned O-47B has been displayed at the Combat Air Museum for a number of years.  As of 2014 it is said to be leaving the facility for possible restoration to airworthiness.

O-47B 39-112

This O-47B is displayed by the National Museum of the USAF, marked as an O-47A (which had a different engine cowling and other equipment) of the Ohio National Guard.  The red disc marking on the fuselage is often mistaken for a Japanese national insignia by museum visitors, but it actually is the Ohio “buckeye” marking as seen on the state flag.


The Planes of Fame museum possesses an O-47 that flew in films during the 1960s but has been grounded for a while.  This machine is under restoration to fly again.


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