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Helldiver Debut at Rabaul

Details of the combat debut of the U.S. Navy’s Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber at the Battle of Rabaul from Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, February 1944.

HELLDIVER
The Navy’s New Dive Bomber Makes Debut In Smash at Rabaul

The Navy’s newest air weapon, the Curtiss Helldiver (SB2C), is in action. With the Vought Corsair (F4U) and Grumman Hellcat (F6F) fighters and the Grumman Avenger (TBF) torpedo bomber, it completes, to date, the Navy’s war-born aerial attack team. All four planes incorporate the lessons of modern warfare taught by battle experience since Pearl Harbor.

A fifth Navy combat plane placed in service since America entered the war is the Ventura (PV) patrol bomber.

Helldivers on a carrier roll forward to take off.

Helldivers on a carrier roll forward to take off. Official U.S. Navy photographs.

In its first combat action, the 11 November raid on Rabaul, the Helldiver–bigger and heavier than any dive bomber previously used by our armed forces–accounted for the bulk of the extensive toll taken of Jap shipping.

Continue reading Helldiver Debut at Rabaul

P-40 Pilot’s Ground Checks

Ground checks for the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk from Pilot Training Manual for the P-40, Headquarters, AAF, Office of Flying Staff, 1943.

P-40 Pilot’s Ground Checks

P-40 Warhawk Pilot Ground Checks

Before you get into your airplane, look it over closely. Walk around and inspect the wings, fuselage and control surfaces. Look carefully; take your time.

Before you climb into the cockpit be sure you have checked all of the following:

1. Check your tires and tailwheel. See that the struts have plenty of clearance. An instruction plate on each strut shows the necessary clearance.

2. Make sure the cover is off the pitot tube.

3. See that the covers are on the gun hatches.

4. See that the caps are fastened tightly on the gas, oil, and coolant tanks.

5. Make sure the Dzus fasteners are secure, and check the fairing on the entire ship for looseness.

6. Find out whether the propeller has been pulled through. It needs at least four turns if the engine is cold.

7. See that the wings and wingtips are not damaged.

8. Check canopy for proper tolerance.