Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless

These photos were taken by Stewart Bailey

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Photos directly below were taken of the Kalamazoo Air Zoo’s SBD-3 Dauntless.  

This aircraft, BuNo. 06624 was one of a number of SBDs lost during training in the Great Lakes aboard the paddlewheel carriers Wolverine and Sable.  It was stricken on September 19, 1943 when the pilot trainee accidentally switched to a dry fuel tank, lost power on landing, boltered and went over the side into Lake Michigan.  It was recovered in the early 1990s, and placed on loan to the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum (Air Zoo) for restoration by the National Museum of Naval Aviation.  Research into the aircraft showed that it has served with the VS-41 “Tophatters” aboard the USS Ranger (CV-4) and had flown bombing missions in support of the Operation Torch landings in Algeria.  The Air Zoo’s restoration staff chose to finish the aircraft in the markings it wore at that time.  For more information on the aircraft and its restoration, visit 

Starboard front quarter Port front quarter Port side (unfortunately, it’s a little tight in the museum) Port rear quarter


Starboard rear quarter Engine cowling & Wright R-1820-52 Cyclone engine Close-up of crankcase and propeller Carburetor air intake


Oil cooler intake Bomb displacement crutch Close-up of crutch pivot mechanism and hydraulics vent pipe Starboard side of bomb crutch


Port wheel well, looking outward Port wheel well, looking inward Upper end of port gear strut Underwing stiffeners and port catapult bridal hook


Underside of cowling Starboard exhaust from below Port exhaust Port gear strut from the front


Port gear strut from the side Port gear strut from behind Top of port gear strut, outer wing attachment point and gun camera window Port bomb shackle looking out


Port bomb shackle from front quarter Landing light in port wing Underside of port aileron showing control linkage Port navigation light


Port aileron Port lower dive brake looking inward Actuators for port outer dive brakes Port upper dive brake


Trim tab in port aileron Formation light in upper surface of port wing Antenna attachment point on port fuselage side Pilot’s hand-hold/step on port side of fuselage


Cowl flap actuators, port side Antenna mast attachment point Antenna mast Cockpit and windshield


Gunner’s canopy in open position (stacked) Rear gun mount, port side Non-skid walkway, port (starboard is identical) Rear gun mount


Colored recognition lights under center fuselage (red, blue, yellow: front to rear) Tail hook pivot Hook end and tailwheel Port stabilizer, upper surface


Trim tab in port elevator Tailwheel and hold down Rudder trim tab actuator Rudder hinge area

Photos and text © 2003 by Stewart Bailey