The Curtiss Helldiver was the backbone of the United States Navy's offensive in the Pacific from 1943 until the Japanese capitulation. Despite early problems, it evolved into an effective and reliable airplane that was able to absorb severe punishment. Peter C. Smith tells the full story of this remarkable machine in this paperback reprint of a popular Crowood title. Packed with rare photographs, this lively and informative book describes and often neglected airplane.
Banking on its successful series of pre -- World War II Helldiver biplanes, Curtiss introduced a prototype of its first monoplane dive-bomber in 1940 -- the SB2C Helldiver. When serious design flaws sent the SB2C back to the drawing board, it took Curtiss two years to roll out the first production model. Neither pilots nor carrier skippers took a shine to the plane, however, and it earned the nickname "The Beast". After investigating Helldiver production, the Truman Committee turned in a scathing report.
This history of the infamous Helldiver examines the design and evolution of the dive-bomber, as well as its failure as both a prototype and actual combat aircraft. A collection of 200 rare black-and-white photographs help chronicle the plane that signalled the beginning of the end for Curtiss.