In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to “Keep ‘Em Flying!” Now, 55 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, operating 156 vintage aircraft in Honor of American Military Aviation. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has approximately 9,000 members operating this fleet of historic aircraft, distributed to 70 units located in 28 states. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000.
This Douglas SBD Dauntless is one of only two actively flying examples of a naval dive bomber that was made by Douglas during World War II. SBD stands for Scout Bomber Douglas and was the main dive bomber used by the US Navy from mid-1940 until late 1943. At that time it was largely replaced by the SB2C Helldiver. SBD has also been lovingly known to mean “Slow But Deadly”, and yet although slow and outmoded when it began its combat career, it was a rugged and dependable machine and was accredited to sinking more Japanese ships than any other aircraft during World War II.
|Date of Manufacture
|Carrier based Bomber
|“Slow but Deadly”
|Douglas SBD-5 “Dauntless”
|41 feet 6 inches
|33 feet 10 inches
|Single 1350 hp Wright R1820-66 radial piston engine
|Hamilton 4 blade
|Rate of Climb
|Number of Crew
|Two 12.7 mm Forward +Two 7.62 mm flexible machine guns machine guns
|1600 lbs fuselage mounted + 650 lbs under wing
The restoration of the Dauntless exhibited was completed in 1999. This restoration was carried out over a period of eight years and was meticulous in its execution. The paint used at the time was custom mixed to Navy specifications. The aircraft has recently been repainted by Delta Airlines to perfectly match the colors that were originally used.
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