Batty Corsairs

Vought O2U-1 Corsair (Bu. No. A-7528) floatplane in flight during fleet maneuvers off Cuba, circa 1928. The plane is from Observation Plane Squadron Three, Scouting Fleet (VO-3S), and is based on the Omaha-class “peace cruiser” USS Trenton (CL-11). Note the distinctive VO-3S bat insignia on the forward fuselage.

Description: Collection of Vice Admiral Dixwell Ketcham. Naval History and Heritage Command Catalog #: NH 100489

How about from the other side?

Vought O2U-1 Corsair (Bu No.A-7536) of VO-3S, from Trenton’s sistership, USS Raleigh (Cruiser No. 8), 1926. US Navy photo from the collection of the San Diego Air and Space Museum, ID:44464473

Formed in 1923, VO-3S was organized to be the holding squadron for floatplane dets assigned to the Atlantic Scouting Fleet, aka cruisers. This style of designation was modified for such units after 1941 to “VCS” for Cruiser Scouting Squadron, however, VO-3S would cycle through VS-5S and VS-5B designations before becoming VCS-2 and finally, Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 6S during WWII, retaining their bat logo throughout. Notably, they would remain on the same Omaha-class cruisers no matter what the squadron’s name.

As for the plane, first delivered to the service in 1926, the U.S. Navy received a total of 289 Corsairs for use as both floatplanes and, with wheels, from air stations and carriers. The fabric-covered biplanes could carry three .30-caliber machine guns, two on the wings and one in the observer’s station, as well as ~500 lbs of bombs. It was a pretty high-performance aircraft for its age. 

As noted by Histomin:

The O2U-1 broke several world records. On 14 April 1927, it broke the altitude record at 22,178 feet. On 23 April 1927, it broke the 100 kilometer (km) speed course record at 147.263 mph. On 30 April 1927, it broke the 500 km speed course record at 136.023 mph. On 21 May 1927, it broke the 1000 km speed course record at 130.932 mph.

Some 140 Corsairs were still on the books when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, although by then they were primarily in training and liaison roles, replaced with the fleet by the newer Curtiss SOC Seagull and Grumman J2F Duck after 1935. As far as I can tell, none saw combat with the U.S.

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