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. Despite its size, the SB2C was much faster than the SBD it replaced. Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast (or just 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. Although production problems persisted throughout its combat service, it was reported that some pilots soon changed their minds about the potency of the Helldiver.

Delays marred its production. Built for the USAAF as the A-25 Shrike, by the time it was delivered it was no longer required. Substantial orders by the British Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force were both cancelled due to the poor handling of the aircraft. The Truman Committee investigated Helldiver production and turned in a scathing report, which eventually led to the beginning of the end for Curtiss. However, in spite of its problems, the aircraft was flown through the last two years of the Pacific War with a fine combat record, due to the high training of its crews.

The Helldiver was developed to replace the Douglas SBD Dauntless; it was a much larger aircraft able to operate from the latest aircraft carriers of the time and carry a considerable array of armament and featured an internal bomb bay that reduced drag when carrying heavy ordnance. Saddled with demanding requirements set forth by both the U.S. Marines and United States Army Air Forces, the manufacturer incorporated features of a "multi-role" aircraft into the design.

General characteristics
  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 36 ft 9 in (11.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 49 ft 9 in (15.2 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 9 in (4.5 m)
  • Wing area: 422 ft² (39.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 10,114 lb (4,588 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 13,674 lb (6,202 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 16,800 lb (7,600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× Wright R-2600 Cyclone radial engine, 1,900 hp (1,400 kW)

  • Maximum speed: 294 mph (473 km/h)
  • Range: 1,200 miles (1,900 km)
  • Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,750 ft/min (8.9 m/s)

  • 2 × 20 mm (.79 in) cannon in the wings
  • 2 × 0.30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns in the rear cockpit
  • 2,000 lb (900 kg) of bombs or 1 × Mark 13-2 torpedo in internal bay
  • 500 lb (225 kg) of bombs each on underwing hardpoints

** Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - Warbird Fare

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