For 30 years, Kevin Smith of California has been working on a Dauntless project of his own, aimed at celebrating the incredible wartime contributions of the SBD. We are pleased to announce that Kevin’s unequalled collection of parts is going to be used in the restoration of our Dauntless! A big Thank You to Kevin, who has shortened the expected project timeline for our Dauntless by several years!
Kevin began his effort to restore a Dauntless at a time when there was just a single flying example left 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.”
Kevin’s parts for our Dauntless include a 100% correct and complete aft turret. The turret ring and gunner’s twin 30’s are a collection of parts from all over the country. The gun mount was dug up in a landfill in Oregon, the ring is from a crash site and the bullet feed chutes are from a PBY nose turret.
Most of Kevin’s parts are being brought back to Virginia Beach so that they can be shipped with the fuselage to New Zealand! A big thank-you to Jim and Frank from the Fighter Factory for their efforts loading everything up!