This week, the Museum moved its first aircraft into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger in the new wing of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The aircraft is the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, the same type of aircraft flown by former Museum director, Don Engen during World War II. Designed in 1938 as a scout-bomber to replace the SB2U Vindicator dive-bomber, the SB2C Helldiver rolled off the assembly line in June 1942. Of the over 5,500 production models built, the Museum's Helldiver is one of only a handful that remain in existence. It will be one of the first aircraft to be restored when the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger is fully operational.
The arrival of this first object is an important milestone for the Museum, and the timing couldn't be better. As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, we at the Museum share this milestone and our gratitude with all of the people who have helped to make the new wing a reality.
Although the Helldiver is the first to occupy the huge restoration hangar, and cannot yet be seen by the public, it will not be alone for long. The Museum will continue moving into the new wing over the coming year. The Helldiver and other objects will be visible to the public as they are restored to display condition when the viewing mezzanine opens later in 2011.
Stay tuned for more information as we move into the new facility.