Curtiss-Wright CW-22 / SNC Falcon


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  ADVANCED TRAINERVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Curtiss  

SNC-1 Falcon

The prototype Curtiss Wright CW-22 two-seat low-wing general-purpose or advanced training monoplace was developed at the Curtiss-Wright St Louis factory in 1940. The two crew members were housed under a continuous glazed canopy, and the all-metal CW-22 showed its lineage by landing gear which had main units retracting rearward into underwing fairings as on the CW-21 single-seat interceptor. Powered by a 313kW Wright R-975 Whirlwind radial, 36 CW-22s were exported to the Netherlands East Indies, but due to the Japanese advance in that region were delivered to the Dutch in northern Australia during March 1942.

A developed CW-22B version was sold to Turkey (50); the Netherlands East Indies (25); and various Latin American countries (totalling about 25). Several Dutch aircraft were later captured and flown by the Japanese. Both the CW-22 and CW-22B were armed with two machine-guns, one fixed and the other flexibly mounted.

After a demonstrator had been tested by the US Navy, a CW-22N advanced training version went into production. The US Navy applied the designation SNC-1 Falcon to the type, a total of 455 being purchased in three batches of 150, 150 and 155 respectively; the aircraft of the third batch had a modified, higher cockpit canopy. Many SNC-1s were sold to private owners in the USA after World War II.

 ENGINE1 x 313kW Wright R-975-28 Whirlwind piston engine
  Take-off weight1718 kg3788 lb
  Loaded weight1241 kg2736 lb
  Wingspan10.67 m35 ft 0 in
  Length8.23 m27 ft 0 in
  Height3.02 m10 ft 11 in
  Wing area16.14 m2173.73 sq ft
  Max. speed319 km/h198 mph
  Ceiling6645 m21800 ft
  Range1255 km780 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 7.62mm machine-guns

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Max Kohnke, e-mail, 15.06.2015 19:58

I am Bill Kohnke's younger brother. I remember standing on the wing of Bill Connell's Falcon (he was in the cockpit dabbing zinc chromate on something). I recall the smells more than anything else. I knew the plane was not allowed to fly but never knew why. I know the crash was in the mid 60s as I was about 5 or so. My dad told me about the crash and that is where we got the notion that it was a fouled fuel vent from insect nesting (a local type of wasp called a Mud Dauber or Dirt Dauber). Since the plane burned I guess we will never know for sure.
Ironically, many years later my younger brother and a local pilot would be an eerily similar crash at the Quincy airport just 10 miles away from where the Falcon crashed. They were in a Citabria. Luckily it did not burn and it was in fact proven to be a dirt dauber nest in the fuel vent. Advances in general aviation had made vented fuel caps standard equipment to prevent just such accidents but the Citabria was aerobatic so it did not have vented gas caps (to prevent leakage at negative G).
Define irony: The very thing invented to prevent clogged fuel vents from causing an accident like the one which killed my dad's close friend are not used on the plane that, as a result, had a nearly identical crash while carrying his youngest son. Life truly can be stranger than fiction.
BTW: Both of them survived the Citabria crash but he pilot, who was in the front seat, suffered serious permanent injuries.


bob fulford, e-mail, 22.09.2014 02:16

For the record: Bill Connell owned the Falcon that Kohnke refers to. I was Connell's brother-in-law and was part owner.
The FAA had refused, at the time of the crash, to certify the plane airworthy after we had swapped out the original CW for a Pratt Whitney. Why Bill took off that day is not known. My guess is that we had been practicing take off by approaching liftoff speed and then cutting the throttle before liftoff. That day, for some reason, Bill went ahead and took off. Almost before he was out of the pattern the engine quit and while he almost made it back to the runway dead stick he stalled on final, crashed and burned. He survived the crash, got out of the wreckage but succumbed to fire injuries.

I have the FAA report and the conclusion is "undertermined". We had had trouble with the fuel pump before we did the engine swap but did not look at the fuel pump or if we did decided that the wobble pump would always take care of things as it always had.

I'm real sure that while the dirt daubbers notion is interesting dirt daubbers did not cause the crash.

I knew Kohnke's dad and flew with him in the early 60's in his Curtiss Robin out of Quincy (Florida) airport. The Robin was an antique even then.My main impression of the Robin was that it had windows which one could crank up or down much like automobile windows.

The Falcon (SNC 1) had clam shell wheel covers that reduced drag even though the wheels were only half way retracted.

The last one of these that I know of is hanging from the ceiling at the museum in Pensacola.

A unique, beautiful aircraft.


capt. pat perez, e-mail, 05.08.2012 01:27

there was a derelic snc on the ramp at the airport in venice fla. in 1959 0r 60 story was it was flown in and parked without anyone knowing its ownership. It was sold after many years in a sherrif sale to dick durrand an an aircraft dealer in denver.


Hiroyuki Takeuchi, e-mail, 23.03.2012 11:30

A number of CW-22 was captured in Java and used as squadron hacks for the 75 and other sentais. It was apparently very popular with the Japanese pilots.


rebing, 20.06.2011 05:33

My Dad's friend, Bill Cannel, was trapped in the wreckage and killed in the resulting fire.


Fred Austin, e-mail, 04.09.2010 00:46

After my friend the outstanding air show pilot and airline captain Bill Barber passed away I sold his CW-22 for his family to Kermit Weeks. The believe the airplane still remains in Weeks collection. Bill had his name painted upside down on the side of the fuselage at one time for air show work.


guy oliver, e-mail, 22.02.2009 19:19

The SNC was used as an advanced trainer prior to the SNJ in limited numbers but were withdrawn from service for structural failure of the fuselage at the point just ahead of the empenage where if was very narrow. Snaprolls were resulting on this point to twist making control difficult


gary smith, e-mail, 12.01.2009 01:10

A friend of the family's: Bill Barber, took his Falcon to Budhapest Hungary in the 1960's. He won the aerobatic competition there. I would like to find 3-D drawings and plans of this aircraft.


Bill Kohnke, e-mail, 15.05.2008 01:35

When I was about eight years old I flew in a Falcon-22 that was owned by my Dad's best friend. It was quite an event to see, hear, and feel it's roar as it rose into the air and slowly folded those P-40 style gears under each wing. The FAA later kept the plane grounded for several years with tragic results. During the interim, insects locally known as mud daubers made a home for themselves in the engine and fuel system. The aircraft later crashed on takeoff when the engine became starved for fuel. My Dad's friend, Bill Cannel, was trapped in the wreckage and killed in the resulting fire.


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