A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

Curtiss SOC-4  “Seagull”

The SOC was the last of the “Curtiss biplanes in operational service” with the U.S. Navy and was designed for use as a scout aircraft for battleships and cruisers–capable of catapult operation and landing at sea. The Coast Guard acquired the final three produced by Curtiss in 1938 and these were designated as SOC-4s. They were assigned the Coast Guard call numbers V171, V172, and V173.

The SOC-4s participated in the experimental use of aircraft on board large cutters. These cutters did not have catapults and simply hoisted each amphibian overboard during flight operations. Use was limited. During WWII the large cutters carried aircraft in Arctic waters. However these aircraft were JF-2s and J2Fs. All three SOC-4s were transferred to the Navy in 1942.