REO-McKinnon O3L Owl
Name - REO-McKinnon O3L Owl
Class - Fighter (Tractor)
Manufacturer - REO-McKinnon Company - St.Catharines, Ontario
Loaded Weight - 3,249 lbs.
Service Ceiling - 16,923 ft.
Range - 650 miles
Max. Speed - 254 mph
Max. Accel. - 65.3 feet/second
Max. Decel. - 66.4 feet/second
Wing Span -
Certainly the role of the aerocraft has changed considerably, yet in the late 1930's, now that air-power rules supreme, the role of intelligence gathering is more important then ever. Single-seater scouts evolved it two directions: powerful flyers with increasingly devastating armaments; and nimble lightly constructed scouts able to flit through the skies and gain important reconnaissance information.
The Owl began its history as the REO - O2R Otter, a non-military mail flyer. Lightly constructed and nimble it could land on the short, narrow strips of northern towns, and with its low stall speed and rugged frame could easily handle landing on irregular surfaces. The Otter was critical in maintaining communications with Ontario's many northern mining and lumber stations and became a mainstay in the small but heavily used Royal Canadian Post fleet.
The Owl, with improved armor and reinforcement sacrificing much of it's cargo capacity, and the advanced photographic equipment taking up the rest, is limited to the reconnaissance role it was designed for.
It's wide parasol "wing-over" design does limit upwards visibility, but gives it the capability to glide silently for long stretches without engaging its engine.
The Owl cannot out-run, out-climb or out-dive its heavily gunned brethren yet there are few it cannot turn circles around. Nimble and agile most combat pilots find the stick "twitchy" and too responsive. It carries no armaments, and little armor, but sometimes a payload of rockets or air-mines are attached to discourage pursuers.
It's ability to photograph at dusk or dawn has located several disguised pirate aerodromes and allowed detailed assessment of air militia defenses. Although not a glorious target the Owl attracts its share of attention in the skies of North America.
In the 1920's and 30's the REO, and later REO-McKinnon plant in St Catharines, Ontario began constructing automobiles. With collapse of the United States and the increasing number of Air Pirates using the Niagara Peninsula as shelter from the ISA, and facing increasing threats to the Welland Canal, the RCAF petitioned several automotive companies to tender aircraft models for mass-production.
Wayne McKinnon, lead automotive designer, bought three worn-out Otters and studied the designs. After careful consideration the CEO, his father Arthur McKinnon, entered license negotiations with REO that ended in a merger. The Owl was the result.
Although not a combat plane the Owl has seen service in many of the air militias, and several of the more stable Air Pirate gangs. The McKinnon plant has sold licenses several times and it has funded the opening of two new production lines and paid for several expensive German "automotive designers." Rumours of a light fighter design are rampant.
Role and Deployment:
Designed expressly for the light air-photo reconaissance and artillery spotter role the Owl is unsuited for escort, interception, or bomber roles, although a suprise payload by this quiet little plane has occured more then once, as it climbs to ceiling then glides in over the target, only to lose pursuit down amongst the trees and buildings.
Pilots and Campaigns:
Few pilots of the Owl amount to much. Those with combat-time rarely survive it, and those with talent rarely remain in scout wings for long. Yet a core of wild-eyed men and women have emerged for whom flying the Owl is a thrill not to be matched by her heavier cousins. The most famous Owl pilot is Daniel Rodman-Hall of the Niagara Daredevils Scout Wing. Transfered from the fighter comand after 20 missions and 2 kills he took to the Owl like a seal to water. In October `37, after a low altitude photo & rocket pass over the Escarpment lair of the Green Skull gang he was pursued by three J2 Furies. Dropping down he began a long and harrowing battle of manuever over the vineyards and forests of Niagara, where a single hit of a big .70, or even a .40 cal would cripple him. Luckily the scrambled J2's were without rockets. Rodman-Hall had the nerve and skill to enter more heavily wooded areas. Instead of breaking off the angry J2 pilots followed him in... they never made it out. For his audacity and skill Rodman-Hall was granted the Distinguished Flyers Cross and joined the short list of Niagara Daredevil
|Base Target Number||10||1,000 lbs.|
|Maximum Speed||3||60 lbs.|
|Maximum Gs||5||300 lbs.|
|Maximum Acceleration||2||45 lbs.|
|Armor Points||120||360 lbs.|
|Port Wing Leading||20||60 lbs.|
|Port Wing Trailing||20||60 lbs.|
|Starboard Wing Leading||20||60 lbs.|
|Starboard Wing Trailing||20||60 lbs.|
|Photo Equipment||Forward: Nose||150 lbs.|