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An “Interesting” Family Tree

The first plane to be called a Helldiver, the F8C was changed from a two-seat fighter to a dive bomber in 1929. It was also destined to become a cultural icon as the plane that shot down King Kong.
Very few “families” of military aircraft ever evolved with such dramatic design changes as the legendary Curtiss Helldivers. Sharing that same intimidating name, it is hard to believe that the early Curtiss XF8C fixed gear, fabric covered, 450-horsepower biplane had anything in common with the massive, all metal, 1,900-horsepower monplane. Derived from the famous line of Curtiss Falcon fighters, the initial 1929 U.S. Navy XF8C and Marine Corps O2C Helldivers were a diminutive 32-foot span,...


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