For the past 30 years, Kevin Smith (pictured at right) has been working on an SBD project of his own, aimed at celebrating the type's incredible wartime contributions. We are pleased to announce that Kevin’s unequalled collection of parts, including a set of wings, will now contribute to the restoration of our Dauntless! We send a big Thank You to Kevin, as his endeavors have shortened the expected project timeline for our Dauntless rebuild by several years!
Kevin, a former U.S. Navy pilot, began his effort to restore a Dauntless at a time when just a single example of the breed remained in flying condition anywhere in the world. In his own words, SBDs should be preserved and shared with the public because: “No other aircraft sank four Japanese aircraft carriers in one day!!!! That is amazing! In one day, the SBD turned the war in the Pacific around.”
Some of Kevin’s parts which will contribute to our Dauntless include a 100% correct and complete dorsal turret. Kevin scoured the country for the components he restored for this turret. The gun mount, for instance, came from a landfill in Oregon, while the turret ring is from a crash site, and the bullet feed chutes were originally in a PBY nose turret.
Most of Kevin’s parts will come back to Virginia Beach so that we can ship them with the fuselage to New Zealand! We offer a big thank-you to Jim and Frank from the Fighter Factory for their efforts in loading everything up!