Curtiss F8C Helldiver

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Curtiss F8C Helldiver
A fleet of Curtiss F8C Helldivers in the 1933 King Kong film
Height 3.12 meters[1]
Length 8.41 meters[1]
Targets King Kong
First appearance Latest appearance
King Kong (1933) King Kong (2005)

The Curtiss F8C Helldiver is an American military reconnaissance biplane manufactured by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company during the early-to-mid 1930's, specifically a member of the Curtiss Falcon family of military biplanes operated by the US Navy. A fleet of F8Cs famously appears in the climax of the 1933 film King Kong, and reappear in the 2005 remake of the original.


King Kong (1933)

After escaping from the exhibit and traveling across New York while carrying Ann Darrow, King Kong began scaling the Empire State Building, reaching the observation deck in just a few minutes. Shortly afterward, the US Military sent in a fleet of four Helldivers to confront King Kong. After setting Ann down on the building's observation deck, King Kong climbed up to the Empire State Building's spire and roared to challenge the aircraft, which began flying around him and shooting at him with their machine guns. Although Kong fought well, swatting one of the planes out of the sky, the remaining aircraft were too much for the giant primate to handle. Mortally wounded by machine-gun fire, King Kong fell from the building's spire to his death far below.

King Kong (2005)

After being chased by the U.S. military, Kong climbs up the Empire State Building with Ann Darrow. Kong and Ann stare at the morning sky before being interrupted by Curtiss F8C biplanes. A long battle ensues, with Kong destroying several of the planes, until their hail of bullets leave him too weak to continue the fight. A Helldiver strafes his back and he falls off the Empire State Building as Ann watches in despair.


Lewis gun

Each Curtiss F8C Helldiver is armed with a Lewis gun mounted aft of the propeller.


  • Merian C. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack both cameo in the insert shots as a Helldiver flight commander and chief observer, since Cooper felt "We should kill the sonofabitch ourselves."[2]
  • Owing to the different time period the 1976 King Kong remake is set in, UH-1 Iroquois helicopters are used for the same role the Helldivers had in the original film.
  • As no original F8C Helldivers have survived to the present day, two full-size scale model replicas of the aircraft were built for its appearance in the 2005 King Kong film by Wingnut Films of Wellington, New Zealand. These models were built to the same specification as the original plane, as original blueprints survived and were able to be utilized. Both models entered preservation after the film released; one is currently on display at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand.[3]


This is a list of references for Curtiss F8C Helldiver. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Curtiss Falcon on Wikipedia
  2. Orville Goldner and George E. Turner (1975). The Making of King Kong. A. S. Barnes & Co., Inc. p. 173. ISBN 0-345-25134-2-395 Check |isbn= value: invalid prefix (help).
  3. David C. Eyre. "Curtiss F8C Helldiver". Aeropedia.


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