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.
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.
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.