Walkaround #537

Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless

Reference photos by Stewart Bailey on Dec 16 2003

Tail navigation light

 

      

These photos 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 www.airzoo.org 

Stewart Bailey

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Tail antenna mast

Solid rubber tail wheel

Tail hook point (not the rubber bump strip on the underside of the fuselage)
Elevator trim tab actuator, underside starboard stabilizer

 

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Vertical stabilizer, starboard side

Winged dinosaur marking on starboard side of tail only.  On some occasions, a winged turtle was painted on aircraft that had crossed the equator signifying a "shell back."  However this particular aircraft featured a winged "Sinclair Oil" dinosaur. perhaps some sort of joke?  Our restoration people traced it from the original marking and made a stencil to apply in after restoration was complete.

Tail antenna mast, starboard side
Navigation lights on spine and doors for stowing guns (in closed position)

 

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Rear view of rear gun mount

Baggage compartment access panel (starboard)
Starboard view of stacked gunner's canopy
Rear gun mount, starboard side

 

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Starboard navigation light

Fixed wing slots on starboard wing

Starboard gear leg from outside
Starboard exhaust and lug for starter crank

 

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Back side of engine cylinders through starboard cowl flaps

Piece of original engine which had to be replaced
Instrument panel from port side
Starboard side of cockpit, forward

 

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Starboard side of cockpit, aft

Stick and floorboard

Cockpit cowl with telescopic bomb sight and compass
Stick and rudder pedals

 

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Instrument panel from starboard side

Post side of cockpit, forward
Port side of cockpit, aft (note lifting cable for hoisting the aircraft with a crane)
Seat back, armor plate and roll-over structure

 

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Aircraft data plate on port side of roll-over structure

Gunner's station looking forward

Gunner's basic flight instruments and radio
Twin .30 cal. gun mount showing ammo feed

 

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Twin .30 cal. mounting point

Ammo feed

Gunner's armor face plate
Twin .30 cals. From starboard side

 

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Gunner's seat

Shell case ejection chutes from forward 50. cal. machine gun (port)
Gear door and linkage (starboard)
Inner face of gear door (port)

 

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Tire (port)

Starboard .50 cal. machine gun

Port .50 cal. machine gun
Forward fuselage

 

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Wright R-1820-52 Cyclone engine

before restoration

before restoration
before restoration

 

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before restoration

 

Photos and text by Stewart Bailey