Today's warbird is the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. The Helldiver was a carrier based dive bomber that replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless in US Navy service during World War II. The Helldiver made its first flight on 18 December 1940 , but was not introduced into service until 1942. Development and its introduction to the fleet was problematic and the aircraft was not well liked. The Helldiver earned itself quite a few nickname during its service. Big Tailed Beast because of its large vertical tail or simply Beast. Another nickname that I first heard from my grandfather, a former Helldiver radioman/gunner, was the Son of a Bitch, 2nd Class, a reference to its Navy designation, SB2C. Despite early problems, the Helldiver was flown during the last two years of World War II and scored a respectable combat record.
My photo is of the Commemorative Air Force's SB2C-5 while on a visit to Manassas Airport in 2013. Although its hard to see in this photo, that is my friend, author Robert F. Dorr sitting in the radioman/gunners seat. In his book 365 Aircraft You Must Fly, Robert included this photo for the entry on the Helldiver, on page 127.