In the 1920s and 1930s the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company produced many different models of aircraft for both the US Navy and US Army. Their most famous line of aircraft were called the "Hawks" in that the different models ended in Hawk. The F6C Hawk was ordered by the USN in March 1925, the same month in which the navy's first aircraft carrier, USS Langley CV-1, first participated in fleet exercises. Only ten of the aircraft were ordered, however, only seven of the aircraft were completed in this F6C-1 appearance. The remaining three were given tailhooks and designated F6C-2. 

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The metal leading wing edge gave the Hawk a greater strength in a dive. As a result of this, the aircraft could dive at a 70 degree angle, far steeper than aircraft from other manufacturers. It was naturally presses into experimentation as a dive bomber and proved a great success. A pontoon equipped F6C-1won the Curtiss Marine Trophy Race  of 1926 with a top speed of 130.94mph, although the standard aircraft had a top speed of 164mph. Powered by a Curtiss D12 410hp engine, the Hawk had a ceiling of 22,700 feet and a range of 350 miles. Two .30 machine guns provided the armament.

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The National Museum of Naval Aviation has F6C-1, BuNo A6969 and has had this aircraft in their collection since 1986.