At the age of 13, The Skanner's graphic designer David Kidd was fascinated by a photo of a flying Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver he found in a book of historic airplanes. When the wreckage of a Helldiver was found in the Tillamook Forest this month, Kidd was taken-aback. Was it the same plane he painstakingly illustrated 20 years before?
It was 1988, after Kidd had moved from Britain to the United States, that he reawakened his interest in the plane. "It was the last US combat biplane -- it was all-metal and had a retractable undercarriage," says Kidd. The Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver – a carrier-based dive-bomber -- entered wartime service in 1939 for the U.S. Navy.
To draw the picture above – Kidd used scaled-down manufacturers blueprints and historic photographs. He draw it about 3 feet wide in technical pens on drafting film over a perspective grid. It eventually took him 84 hours to pen the illustration. It was published in the second issue of "AeroPlans," a collection of historical airplane plans.
However it turned out that the Helldiver recently found in the Tillamook Forest near Rockaway Beach is Curtiss's next version, the SB2-C, in when they basically just removed the SBC-4's top wing to make it a monoplane. There archeologists for the state continue to search for the remains of the pilot. There has been no identification made regarding the possible pilot or date of flight plan. The Naval Air Station Tillamook, the closest military installation that would have launched such a plane, was decommissioned in 1948. It is unclear if this plane belonged to a private citizen collector in the years after World War II.
For more illustrations by David Kidd, visit his website at www.davidkidd.net