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An “Interesting” Family Tree

The first plane to be called a Helldiver, the F8C was changed from a two-seat fighter to a dive bomber in 1929. It was also destined to become a cultural icon as the plane that shot down King Kong.
Very few “families” of military aircraft ever evolved with such dramatic design changes as the legendary Curtiss Helldivers. Sharing that same intimidating name, it is hard to believe that the early Curtiss XF8C fixed gear, fabric covered, 450-horsepower biplane had anything in common with the massive, all metal, 1,900-horsepower monplane. Derived from the famous line of Curtiss Falcon fighters, the initial 1929 U.S. Navy XF8C and Marine Corps O2C Helldivers were a diminutive 32-foot span,...


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An “Interesting” Family Tree

Article in October 2022 Issue

ON THE COVER: You can almost hear the roar from The Fighter Collection’s ultra-rare, Merlin-powered P-40F as it comes in close to the camera ship. This aircraft was found on the South Pacifi c island of Espiritu Santo after it had been lost for nearly 40 years. (Photo by John Dibbs/

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Flight Journal is like no other aviation magazine in the world. Gripping accounts of flights and combat missions put the reader in the cockpit with all involved: pilots, engineers, gunners and eye-witnesses. Flight Journal covers the world of aviation from its simple beginnings to its high-tech, no-holds-barred future. We see aviation history through the eyes of those who made it. The leader in the field of aviation photojournalism, Flight Journal captures what it's like to pilot aircrafts that inspire fear and awe, from the historic B-17 Flying Fortress to today's F-16 fighters.

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