Brewster SB2A Buccaneer

1941

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Brewster SB2A Buccaneer

The Buccaneer was as unsuccessful in its designed role of carrier-borne dive-bomber as the F2A had been as a fighter. First flown on 17 June 1941, this was a mid-wing all-metal monoplane fitted with a 1,267kW Wright Double-Row Cyclone R-2600-8 engine. Production deliveries were made to the RAF in 1942 as SB2A-1 (known as Bermuda and quickly relegated to training and target-towing duties), and to the US Navy from 1943 as SB2A-2, -3 and -4; the latter were produced for the Netherlands East Indies but were not delivered and were used instead as trainers. A total of 750 Buccaneers were built.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The prototype was tested with a mock-up powered dorsal turret, but this caused such buffeting that it was abandoned and traditional hand-aimed guns were used instead.

The firepower of the Bermuda was the same as the Spitfire Mk 1 - eight machine guns, albeit distributed between the cowling, wings and rear cockpit.

The RAF's Bermudas lacked the arrester hook and folding wings of the US Navy's SB2As.

Brewster SB2A Buccaneer

Specification 
 MODELSB2A-3
 CREW2
 ENGINE1 x Wright R-2600-8 Cyclone, 1268kW
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight6480 kg14286 lb
  Empty weight4500 kg9921 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan14.33 m47 ft 0 in
  Length11.94 m39 ft 2 in
  Height4.7 m15 ft 5 in
  Wing area35.21 m2379.00 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed440 km/h273 mph
  Cruise speed260 km/h162 mph
  Ceiling7590 m24900 ft
  Range w/max.fuel2700 km1678 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 4 x 7.62mm machine-guns, 450kg of bombs

3-View 
Brewster SB2A BuccaneerA three-view drawing (836 x 1247)

Comments
Oldgysgt, e-mail, 11.01.2016 05:48

Brewster, now there is a fine company for you. A maker of military aircraft, in the middle of a World War, and with contracts in hand to produce hundreds of Corsair aircraft on a guaranteed "cost plus" bases, and they are forced to close their doors in 1944! Mismanagement is too weak a word for the operators of this joke of a company.

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Graham Clayton, e-mail, 13.02.2021 Oldgysgt

Not mismanagement, more like fraud and corruption.

Salesmen Alfred and Ignacio Miranda and F. William Zelcher were running a profit-skimming operation.

The brothers and Zelcher marketed Brewster aircraft to Allied nations through the Brewster Export Corporation. The trio over-promised delivery of planes while siphoning off $5.5 million in commissions.

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Roy Edwards, e-mail, 12.12.2013 08:15

I was an aviation buff since I was a kid in Vero Beach. Even got to meet Eddie Rickenbbacker in 1940 when he landed at what later became Vero Beach NAS. We lived close enough to the base to be able to climb up in our tree house and watch the traffic coming and going on runway 29L. After the SB2A's arrived, the accidents became almost a daily occurrence. We learned that when a plane kept circling after the others had landed, that we could run up to our tree house and watch the (one or both) wheels-up landings that became all too common. The plane had maany problems, but the hydraulic system was a maintenance nightmare, and the cause of the landing gear problems. The braking system failures also caused quite a few landing accidents. Our tree house almost got taken out by one of the SB2A's (while we were in it) when he had an engine failure trying to get lined up with the runway and ended up stalling and crashing about a block north of us. Three of us kids were the first on the crash site and thought we could help rescue the 2 guys on board, but the plane was in pieces and the flames were too intense to get close. Never had a count on fatal and non-fatal accidents with the Buccaneer, but I'd bet the rate was among the highest of all the Navy training facilities.

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Kelly Wellington, e-mail, 17.12.2012 01:43

I understand that the crews of the Curtiss Helldiver weren't real happy with it, either, after being forced out of their Douglas Dauntlesses, which most seemed to have liked. The Buccaneer certainly does look very similar to the Helldiver.

No use for a 'dive bomber'? Didn't they do any ground support in Europe? Dive bombers are often tasked to do ground pounding...or have been.

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Kristin Anne High, e-mail, 17.09.2012 02:59

The SB2A had serious structural problems that effected its carrier operations, and equally serious stability problems which effected its performance in combat. Stability problems were endemic among Brewster Aircraft, a point not lost on the USN. As for Lease-Lend to UK, I must disagree---there was a stated need for a dive /attack bomber from both the Air Ministry and, especially, the Admiralty; for the latter, L /L aircraft were about the only way to get at modern aircraft, as the RAF---rightly or wrongly---had a stranglehold on design and production in GB.

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zach bolton, e-mail, 21.12.2011 20:28

it is on blazing angels and it is a usefull plane

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R. Dirks, e-mail, 22.01.2011 06:03

The SB2A and the Curtiss SB2C were very similar, and were developed simultaneously as larger replacements for the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber. The Navy took over and expanded the Vero Beach, Florida, airport as the dedicated SB2A training base. Training was conducted for about a year, but the aircraft had structural problems. The SB2C proved somewhat less troublesome, so the Navy decided to end the SB2A program and deploy the SB2C exclusively. NAS Vero Beach ended up training Marines in F7F Tigercats, before decommissioning in 1946. Its large Bachelor Officers Quarters and athletic fields became the nucleus of the famed Dodgertown spring training facility for the Brooklyn (later Los Angeles) Dodgers. The Dodgers trained there until moving to Arizona just a couple of years ago.

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Ben Beekman, e-mail, 27.12.2010 19:59

Brewster had an aircraft factory in the Borough of Queens, New York City, where they also built the Brewster F2A Buffalo, another unlamented airplane. After construction,the planes would be taken to nearby Newark Airport for flight testing and, it's assumed, government acceptance. Oddly, the export version of the Buffalo fighter seems to have performed quite well for the Finnish air force against the Soviets in World War 2, several Finnish pilots achieving respectable scores in aerial combat. They seemed happy with the aircraft. It causes one to wonder how the Buccaneer (and the Buffalo) would have fared had it been improved and updated with later-developed equipment as the SB2C (and many other aircraft with developmental problems) was. If the effort had been made, would Brewster's aircraft have performed just as well as, say, the Curtiss Helldiver or the Vought Corsair? Many, if not all, of the "bugs" in the design could probably have been ironed out if the customer (the government) desired. The old 6-story brick factory building where Brewster built its airplanes is still standing at the entranceway to the Queensborough Bridge, having been converted to office space for an insurance company. However, old-timers who live in the neighborhood still refer to it as "the old Brewster building".

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Jackie, 08.08.2010 04:34

P.S. It looks similar to the SB2C Helldiver too.

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Jackie, 08.08.2010 04:31

hmm, I think the SB2A Buccaneer might even be slightly better than the Douglas SBD Dauntlass.... It has a slightly faster speed, better range and can carry a decent payload. And yet it was only used for training and target towing. I wonder why they didn't consider using it...

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GSJ Lankenau, e-mail, 06.04.2010 22:17

There was an article in an early "Aeroplane" magazine listing all the a /c ordered
by GB from USA. Some 600 Bucks were noted. Who ordered the wretched thing
in the first place as we never had a requirement for a dive bomber? Were they
delivered, thereby taking up valuable shipping space and if they got to UK
what happened to them? Rgds, G.L.

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Klaatu83, e-mail, 18.01.2010 01:56

An "SBA" dive bomber was built in the late 'thirties only as a prototype. Thirty improved production models were constructed by the Naval Aircraft Factory at Philadelphia around 1940 with the designation "SBN", but they weren't very good either.

Brewster later managed to wangle a contract to built Vought Corsairs under license, but they couldn't manage to do that right either.

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leo rudnicki, e-mail, 11.05.2009 06:33

There was an XSBA-1 , became SBN-1, then forgotten. Like SB2A but with R-1820 Cyclone.

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Sgt.KAR98, 11.05.2009 02:19

SB2A?
Is it there a SBA?

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W. Wolland Sterchi, e-mail, 14.08.2008 04:30

I have pictures of Brewster SB2A-1 at Tullahoma, TN in the 1970s. Also have inspection cover I took off wing.

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