Maiden flight on a surplus seaplane, 92 years ago today

Official caption:

“Navy flyer takes 12-year seaplane on its first flight. After lying in storage at the Washington Navy Yard more than 12 years, an obsolete 1915 model Curtiss seaplane on its maiden flight today on the […] by Commander H.C. Richardson, crack U.S. Navy […] who is shown at the controls in this photograph. Commander Richardson is planning to put through various tests to compare its behavior to that craft of modern construction for the benefit of Naval officials. The United States Army War College is shown in the background. 10 February 1928”

Harris & Ewing photograph via LOC LC-DIG-hec-34771

The vintage Curtiss seaplane, although only 12 years old, was thoroughly outdated as the Navy at the time was about to enter into a competition between the Douglas XO2D-1, Vought XO5U, and Curtiss XOC to replace their observation floatplanes with a new catapult-launched biplane, with a central float and folding wings. The XOC won the day and went on to enter service as the SOC Seagull, remaining in the fleet through WWII.

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