The Curtiss SBC Helldiver was an American biplane designed as a carrier-based dive bomber, entering service with the US Navy in 1938. However, it would soon be replaced by the Douglas SBD Dauntless, a monoplane and more advanced dive bomber, in 1940, one year before the United States entered World War II. Thus, after being in active service for a short period with the USS Yorktown (CV-5), the SBC Helldiver was relegated to naval land bases to be used as a trainer aircraft until it was retired in early 1944. Curtis-Wright manufactured 257 aircraft in two versions: SBC-3 and SBC-4, about 50 of them were sold to the French Navy and 90 to the Royal Navy. Do not confuse this aircraft with the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, which was a monoplane dive-bomber that would replace the SBD Dauntless in early 1943.
The Curtiss SBC was a two-seat, single-engine biplane, fitted with retractable landing gear and powered by one Wright R-1820-34 radial engine, which generated 850 horsepower. Although it was a very maneuverable aircraft, capable of doing tight turns, by the time the United States entered WWII, it had become a very slow aircraft, with a limited range, to fullfil the role of a dive-bomber.
The SBC Helldiver was armed with two 7.62-mm machine guns and could carry up to 454 kg of bombs.
Type: biplane dive-bomber
Wingspan: 34′ (10.36 m)
Length: 28′ 2″ (8.57 m)
Height: 10′ 5″ (3.2 m)
Maximum speed: 234 mph (377 km/h)
Range: 405 miles (652 km)
Rate of climb: 1,630 ft/min (8.28 m/s)