This Day in Aviation History
December 18th, 1940
First flight of the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver.
The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a carrier-based dive bomber aircraft produced for the United States Navy during World War II. It replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless in US Navy service. The SB2C was much faster than the SBD it replaced.
Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast (or just the derogatory Beast), Two-Cee and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class (after its designation and partly because of its reputation for having difficult handling characteristics). Neither pilots nor aircraft carrier skippers seemed to like it.
Delays marred its production—by the time the A-25 Shrike variant for the USAAF was deployed in late 1943, the Army Air Forces no longer had a need for a thoroughbred dive bomber. Poor handling of the aircraft was another factor that hampered its service introductions, both the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force cancelled substantial orders.
The Truman Committee investigated Helldiver production and turned in a scathing report, which eventually led to the beginning of the end for Curtiss. Thankfully, problems with the Helldiver were eventually ironed out, and in spite of its early problems, the aircraft was flown through the last two years of the Pacific War with a fine combat record….
Wikipedia, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver: http://gstv.us/1lWRW1X
YouTube, Curtiss-Wright SB2C Helldiver Navy Bomber: http://gstv.us/1lWRTmU
YouTube, How to Fly the Curtiss Helldiver – SB2C: http://gstv.us/1lWRQHQ
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Photo from: http://gstv.us/1lWS0Pa
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