The Douglas O-38 was an aircraft utilized by the United States Army Air Corps for observation purposes.
From 1931 to 1934, Douglas produced a total of 156 O-38s for the Air Corps, with eight of them being O-38Fs.
A few of these aircraft remained in operation during the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941.
The O-38 is an updated version of the O-25, which was a modified variant of the earlier Douglas O-2. Variants O-38 derivative of the Curtiss Conqueror-engine O-25 but with a 525-hp (391-kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radial engine and Townend ring cowling; the National Guard received all 44-production aircraft. O-38A single unarmed O-38 staff liaison machine for the National Guard O-38B derivative of the O-38 with an R-1690-5 engine; total production was 63, comprising 30 for USAAC observation squadrons and 33 for the National Guard O-38C single aircraft similar to the O-38B for use by US Coast Guard O-38E A model with a wider and deeper fuselage on the lines of the private-venture O-38S, with a sliding canopy over the cockpits and a 625-hp (466-kW) R-1690-13 radial engine driving a metal propeller; could be operated on twin Edo floats; the National Guard took delivery of 37 such aircraft. O-38F eight unarmed staff liaison aircraft delivered to the National Guard in 1933 with an R-1690-9 engine and a revised, fully enclosed canopy. O-38P Almost identical to the E/F series. Six aircraft were delivered to Perú in February 1933, fitted with Edo floats; Three took part in the conflict against Colombia, and took part in air combats against Colombian Curtiss Hawk IIs, one being lost as a consequence of damage received during those clashes. Survivors were converted to wheels and served as trainers until 1940. O-38S private-venture development of the O-38 with a wider and deeper fuselage, crew canopy and a smooth-cowled 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-E Cyclone radial engine; in effect was the prototype of the O-38E. A-6 proposed use of the O-38 as a radio-controlled target drone (cancelled). Specifications O-38B Crew 2 Length 31 ft 0 in (9.45 m) Wingspan 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m) Height 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m) Wing area 362 sq ft (33.6 m2) Airfoil Göttingen 398 Empty weight 3,070 lb (1,393 kg) Gross weight 4,343 lb (1,970 kg) Max take-off weight 4,456 lb (2,021 kg) Performance Maximum speed 150 mph (240 km/h, 130 kn) Cruise speed 120 mph (190 km/h, 100 kn) Range 275 mi (443 km, 239 nmi) Service ceiling 19,000 ft (5,800 m) Rate of climb 1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s) Wing loading 12 lb/sq ft (59 kg/m2) Power/mass 0.12 hp/lb (0.20 kW/kg) Armament Guns 2 × .30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns, one fixed forward-firing and one flexible Bombs 4 × 100 lb (45 kg) bombs.
Sources McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company 1st 75 Years Aviation Book-McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920, Volume 1-René J Francillon. San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.