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First Aircraft Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center Restoration Hangar

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The "Helldiver" arrives at the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar.

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.



Staff move the "Helldiver" into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar.

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.


Staff along with members of the Engen family pose in front of the "Helldiver" inside the Udvar-Hazy Center's new Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar.

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.


View from the mezzanine with the "Helldiver" on the restoration hangar floor below.

See the latest photos of the new wing and stay tuned for more information as we move into the new facility.

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9 thoughts on “First Aircraft Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center Restoration Hangar

  1. I hope you put up some webcams like you did at Silver Hill–it was fascinating to watch your restoration staff at work, and see all the different types of restoration jigs & tooling they were using.

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  4. Hangar, not Hanger, right?

    great piece of news, hope to visit someday. I also vote for the webcams :)

  5. I can’t wait till the restoration wing opens, I hope they give tours from the floor as they did at Garber that I was lucky enough to tour when it was open to the public. I think the restoration of these planes of the WWll era is one way we can honor the men and women who served in that war.

    Thank you to all of people who work hard to bring these works of art back to us.

  6. I can’t wait untill the new wing opens! I was there on opening day for the Udvar-Hazy Center and I hope to be there for opening day for the restoration wing! Thanks for all of the people who work to make this facility great!

  7. My father flew the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver in combat during ww II. He flew air support during the invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and carrier strikes on the home islands of Japan. He was awarded 2 air medals and 3 battle stars. He later after the war flew this actual plane. In his log book is listed on Jan. 30, 1946 SB2C-5 with the machine # 83479. It appears that he flew it on a familiarization flight for 1.2 hours from the NAS in Santa Rosa, CA. Do you have the history of this particular plane #83479?

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