Bombarder Superfortress leti

Bombarder Superfortress leti


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21. septembra 1942 je ameriški B-29 Superfortress prvič poletel v Seattlu v Washingtonu. To je bil največji bombnik, ki ga je v vojni uporabil kateri koli narod.

B-29 je leta 1939 zasnoval general Hap Arnold, ki se je bal, da bi nemška zmaga v Evropi pomenila, da ZDA ne bodo imele baz na vzhodni strani Atlantika, s katerih bi lahko napadle. Potrebovali smo letalo, ki bi potovalo hitreje, dlje in višje od vseh razpoložljivih, zato se je Boeing odločil za izdelavo štirimotornega težkega bombnika. Letalo je bilo izjemno in je lahko nosilo tovore, skoraj enake lastni teži, na nadmorski višini od 30.000 do 40.000 čevljev. V zadnjem delu letala je vseboval pilotsko konzolo, v primeru, da je sprednji pilot izpadel iz službe. Prav tako je imel prvi radarski bombni sistem katerega koli ameriškega bombnika.

Superfortress je 21. septembra poskusno tekel po celinskih Združenih državah Amerike, vendar je bombardiranje začel šele 5. junija 1944 proti Bangkoku v pripravah na zavezniško osvoboditev Burme iz japonskih rok. Nekaj ​​več kot teden dni kasneje je B-29 prvič tekel proti japonski celini. 14. junija je 60 letal B-29 s sedežem v mestu Chengtu na Kitajskem bombardiralo tovarno železarne in jekla na otoku Honshu. Čeprav je bil napad manj uspešen, se je izkazal za krepitev morale Američanov, ki so bili zdaj v ofenzivi.

Medtem so Združene države ponovno zavzele Marijanske otoke v južnem Tihem oceanu, predvsem zato, da bi zagotovile letalske baze za svoje nove B-29-popoln položaj za dosledno napadanje na japonsko celino. Ko so bile baze pripravljene, so B-29 uporabili v dolgi seriji bombnih napadov proti Tokiu. Čeprav so bile zmožne natančnega bombardiranja na velikih nadmorskih višinah, so superforte začele spuščati zažigalne naprave s samo 5000 čevljev, pri čemer so japonsko prestolnico požgale v poskusu, da bi prekinile voljo sile osi. V enem napadu, marca 1945, je umrlo več kot 80.000 ljudi. Toda najbolj smrtonosne misije B-29 bi prišle avgusta, saj je bilo to edino letalo, ki je zmoglo dostaviti 10.000 kilogramov težko bombo-atomsko bombo. The Enola Gay in Bockov avto vzletel iz Marijan, 6. oziroma 9. avgusta, in odletel v zgodovino.

PREBERITE ŠE: Zgodovina atomskih bomb


Dejstva prelomnega B-29

Ameriški težki bombnik B-29 Superfortress je začel delovati leta 1944 in vodil množično bombardiranje celinske Japonske. Nato je bil v Koreji omejeno uporabljen, preden je bil leta 1960 opuščen.

To je bil daleč najdražji projekt druge svetovne vojne, ki je leta 2018 stal okoli 41 milijard dolarjev. Skratka, to je celoten proračun belgijskih oboroženih sil za naslednjih deset let.

Nemci so se tako bali, da bi ga uporabili v zahodnoevropskem gledališču, čeprav nikoli ni bilo, da so za to razvili visoko nadmorsko višino lovca/prestreznika Focke-Wulf Ta 152.

B-29 Superfortress in Flight.

Proizvajali so ga šele tri leta (1943–1946) in potreba po velikem številu jih je hitro izginila, ko se je končala druga svetovna vojna. Mnogi so šli naravnost s proizvodne linije v skladišče in jih na koncu zavrgli.

Hitro je tudi zastarel. Najprej so ga prekvalificirali iz težkega bombnika v srednjega bombnika.

Nato ga je v celoti nadomestil večji in hitrejši Convair B-36 Peacemaker. Tudi tega so hitro nadomestili bombniki z reaktivnim motorjem in hiter napredek v tehnologiji.

B-36 Mirotvorac.

Tukaj je nekaj zanimivih dejstev o mogočnem Boeingu B-29 Superfortress.

Uspešnost in lastnosti

V primerjavi z drugimi letali

Boeing XB-29 Superfortress 41-002 "Leteči morski prašiček" 1942 Zemeljska posadka pri delu na super utrdbi B-29 iz poveljstva XXI bombnikov na Saipanu.

Več dejstev

  • Bil je prvi bombnik, ki je imel kabino s polnim tlakom.
  • Imel je centralni sistem za nadzor požara, ki je upravljal pištole za daljinsko upravljanje, s pomočjo zgodnjega analognega računalnika.
  • Imel je revolucionarno novo zasnovo krila z visokim dvigom, ki bi lahko prenesla ogromne obremenitve.
  • Imelo je 11 članov posadke, ki so jih sestavljali: pilot, kopilot, bombarder, inženir letenja, navigator, radijski operater, radarski opazovalec, operater centralnega nadzora požara, desni strelec, levi strelec in repni strelec.

Vrednost denarja

B-29 bi vas v današnji vrednosti#8217 (2018) stal nekaj več kot 9 milijonov dolarjev, kar bi lahko tudi kupili

  • Pol BAE Hawk Advance Trainer.
  • 1/8 večnamenskega lovca F/A 18E Super Hornet.
  • 1/200 prikritega bombnika B-2.
  • 85% britanskega strateškega bombnika Vulcan –a, saj bi lahko nosil enako obremenitev bombe v istem dosegu, vendar z dvakrat večjo hitrostjo in 4 milje višjo, kot bi jo lahko imel B-29.
  • 450 popolnoma novih avtomobilov Ford Focus hatchback z brezplačnim servisiranjem!

Uporablja se za B-29

  • Poleg tega, da je bil strateški bombnik, so ga uporabljali tudi za reševanje po zraku in morju, zbiranje elektronskih obveščevalnih podatkov in vremensko izvidovanje.
  • Odstranjeni B-29 je bil leta 1949. uporabljen za preizkušanje zamisli o oddajanju televizije po letalih in ne po satelitu. Sistem se je imenoval Stratovision in čeprav so ga poskušali razviti skozi leta, na koncu ni uspel.
  • Uporabljali so se za eksperimentiranje z neuspešnim konceptom matične ladje, ki nosi McDonnell XF-85 Goblin Parazite Fighters.
  • Preoblikovane superforte, imenovane KB-29, so bile uporabljene za raziskovanje takrat radikalne ideje o polnjenju goriva zrak-zrak. 282 jih je bilo kasneje uspešno spremenjenih v strateške tankerje za polnjenje z gorivom.

Zaprite svojce

B-50 Superfortress, ki je imel močnejše motorje in močnejše ogrodje, je bil predstavljen leta 1948. To je bilo prvo letalo, ki je neprekinjeno letelo po svetu. Različica B-50, imenovana Washington, so ga Britanci v petdesetih letih za kratek čas uporabljali kot zaustavitveno letalo.

Boeing B-50D. Foto: RuthAS / CC BY 3.0

Več B-29 je bilo med drugo svetovno vojno prisiljeno prisilno pristati na sovjetskem ozemlju. Sovjeti so izkoristili priložnost za razvoj lastne različice B-29 s pomočjo obratnega inženiringa.

Imenovali so ga Tupolev Tu-4 Bull in je zapolnil pomembno vrzel v sovjetskem arzenalu, saj v tistem času ni imel nobenega strateškega bombnika. Skupno je bilo zgrajenih 847, majhno število pa je bilo podeljenih komunistični Kitajski.

Tupolev Tu-4 v muzeju osrednjih ruskih letalskih sil, Monino. Foto: Maarten / CC BY 2.0

Sovjetski poskusi razvoja variant Tu-4 so bili neuspešni. Iz potniškega ladje Tupolev Tu-70 in Tu-80, ki sta imela daljši doseg, so izdelali le po 1 letalo. Niti eden ni šel v serijsko proizvodnjo.

Kitajci so poskušali razviti TU-4, opremljen z radarjem za zgodnje opozarjanje v zraku, imenovanim KJ-1AEWC Project 926. Le eden je bil zgrajen leta 1969. Kljub nekaterim navideznim trditvam kitajskih oblasti, da je enakovreden 40 radarjem na zemlji , so ga letalske sile Ljudske osvobodilne vojske hitro ocenile kot zastarele, projekt pa je bil preklican.

KJ-1 AEWC v Kitajskem letalskem muzeju. Foto: allen watkin – CC BY-SA 2.0

B-29 in atomsko bombo

“ Zdaj sem postal Smrt, uničevalec svetov. ” –J.Robert Oppenheimer, vodja ameriškega projekta za razvoj atomske bombe.

Atomsko bombo so v vojskovanju uporabljali le dvakrat, obakrat pa jo je dostavil B-29. Posledično je bil B-29 v svoji karieri pogosto povezan z atomsko bombo.

6. avgusta 1945 Enola Gay, B-29, imenovan po pilotovi materi, je na Hirošimo spustil prvo atomsko bombo. V eksploziji je umrlo 75.000 Japoncev, 70.000 jih je bilo ranjenih in uničeno 69% mesta.

B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay 82

Klical je B-29 Bockscar tri dni kasneje je na Nagasaki spustil drugo atomsko bombo. V eksploziji je umrlo 35.000 Japoncev, 60.000 jih je bilo ranjenih in uničeno 44% mesta. Letalo je dobilo ime po svojem rednem pilotu kapetanu Fredericku Bocku, vendar ga je na ta dan pilotiral major Charles Sweeney.

Boeing B-29 "Bockscar" nosni art

Leta 1950 je B-29 trčil v goro v Novi Mehiki, medtem ko je nosil atomske bombe z nameščenimi detonatorji. Radioaktivne kontaminacije ni bilo, po mnenju ameriške vojske pa nikoli ni bilo možnosti, da bi bombe eksplodirale, ker niso bile napolnjene.

Prvo atomsko bombo, ki so jo bacila sovjetska letala, je nosil Tupolev Tu-4 Bull, vzvratno konstruirana kopija B-29.


HistoryLink.org

Boeingova Superfortress je bila znana po svojih podvigih v drugi svetovni vojni. B-29 se je rodil blizu vojne sredine, letel je 21. septembra 1942, zgrajen in v velikem številu zaposlen med spopadom. V 15 mesecih bojevanja je uspešno opravil več vlog, vključno z bombnikom, minolovcem, fotoraziskovalcem, iskanjem in reševanjem ter elektronskim bojevanjem. B-29 so se borili v pacifiškem gledališču in so leteli večinoma z majhnih otokov z največjimi letalskimi bazami na svetu, čez ogromne odseke oceana do sovražnih ciljev, ki so lahko oddaljeni več kot 2000 milj. B-29, znano kot edino letalo, ki je v vojni spustilo atomske bombe, je s svojimi napadi z ognjenimi bombami in misijami postavljanja min v vodah okoli domačih otokov pomembno prispevalo k zmagi zaveznikov nad Japonsko.

Nenaravna trdnjava

Superfortress med vojno med bombniki na propeler ni imel vrstnika. Ugodno se je primerjal z edinim delujočim turboreaktivnim bombnikom, impresivnim nemškim Arado Ar 234 Blitz (Lightning) po hitrosti na višini in je bil izrazito boljši po službenem stropu (najvišji ravni letala, ki se lahko povzpne, medtem ko še vedno leti vodoravno) in dosegu trajekta (najbolj oddaljena razdalja) lahko leti popolnoma opremljeno letalo brez tovora).

Opazovalcu na krovu B-29 vzklikne "ameriški" v vse smeri, saj je vtis precejšnje velikosti, velike moči, preplavljene tehnologije in zagotovila, da lahko to bojno letalo premaga vsakega sovražnika in zmaga. Posadke B-29 so uživale (če je to pravilno v bojnih razmerah) v razmeroma prostornem delovnem okolju s prostorom za vse, razen za strelca, še posebej v primerjavi s svojim starejšim bratom, utesnjeno letečo trdnjavo B-17. Tlak v kabini, ogrevanje in klimatska naprava so povečali udobje posadke.

Zahteve za visoko zmogljivega bombnika

Konec tridesetih let prejšnjega stoletja je vojaški letalski korpus (AAC) začel iskanje novega visoko zmogljivega bombnika, ki bi razširil najsodobnejšo oblikovanje letal. Januarja 1940 je AAC izdal specifikacijo za zelo težkega bombnika s temi zahtevami: hitrost 400 km / h, zmogljivost na visoki nadmorski višini z oddelkom za posadko pod tlakom, doseg 5000+ milj z obremenitvijo z bombo, obrambno oborožitvijo in podvozjem tricikla.

Za dosego želene največje hitrosti AAC je Boeing predlagal aerodinamično čist neoborožen bombnik, ki bi se kot obramba pred sovražnimi lovci zanašal na svojo visoko hitrost in višinsko zmogljivost. AAC je vztrajal pri popolnoma oboroženem bombniku pod tlakom, ki je nato pripeljal do daljinsko vodenih pušk, saj odprta vrata (podobna tistim na B-17) niso bila združljiva s tlakom. Popolnoma oboroženi B-29 niso izpolnjevali zahteve glede hitrosti, vendar so poznejši atomski bombniki B-29B in Martin, zgrajeni iz zvona, ki so bili okrajšani za vse kupole in opazovalne žulje, razen za repni stolp in njegove puške, dosegli več kot 400 mph.

Boeing in konsolidirane zmagovalne pogodbe

Boeingov model 345 je bil izbran kot najbolj obetaven od modelov, 24. avgusta 1940 pa je bila izdana razvojna pogodba za dva prototipa XB-29. Tako visoko je bilo zaupanje AAC in zlasti njegovega poveljnika častnika generala Arnolda v sposobnosti Boeinga, da je Ko je letel XB-29, je bilo naročenih 1664 proizvodnih letal.

Consolidatedov B-32 Dominator je služil kot podpora, če Superfortress ne uspe. Letel je nekaj tednov, preden je B-29, uporabljal iste motorje, bil med prvimi letali s propelerji z reverzibilnim nagibom, vendar je bila njegova splošna zmogljivost nižja. Ker v proizvodnih letalih ni bilo tlaka v kabini, so bile vse kupole pištol posadjene. Dominator je letel v poznih vojnih bojnih misijah, ni pa sodeloval pri strateškem bombardiranju Japonske. Po padcu atomskih bomb je nad Japonsko letelo več fotorekognoscijskih letov. Proizvodnja je obsegala 118 letal vseh modelov.

B-29 Oblikovalske lastnosti

Aerodinamično učinkovito krilo z visokim razmerjem stranic (dolgo, ozko) s tesno pokritimi motorji je bilo združeno s poenostavljenim, stožčastim trupom, ki ga je presegel velik navpični rep. Enajst članov posadke je bilo nameščenih v treh oddelkih pod tlakom, v nosu, pasu in repu. Komunikacijska cev (premera približno 28 palcev x dolžina 35 čevljev), skozi katero so se lahko posadke plazili, se je pridružila predelkom za nos in pas. Štiri ležišča za počitek v pasu so bili prvotni element oblikovanja, ki ga je ob dodajanju navigacijske/bombne radarske opreme nadomestila postaja operaterja radarja.

Tlak v kabini je omogočil, da je B-29 preletel večino japonske obrambe. Nekateri modeli pozne vojne Superfortress so leteli nad 40.000 metri nadmorske višine, kjer so bili neranljivi za napad. B-29, zgrajen na prejšnjem sistemu tlaka Boeing, je bil razvit za svoje letalo 307 Stratoliner in je bil prvo masovno izdelano letalo in bombnik pod pritiskom (po načrtu). Ta ključna tehnologija, ki so jo med drugo svetovno vojno izpopolnile ZDA, bi Boeingu in Ameriki dobro uspela v času povojnega letala, ko je postala nujna. Velik del današnjega uspeha Boeinga kot proizvajalca reaktivnih letal je mogoče pripisati njegovemu strokovnemu znanju v zvezi s pritiskom.

Les je bil uporabljen za delovne mize, lestve in tla, nedvomno zaradi pacifiškega severozahoda Superfortress.

Zmogljivi, težavni motorji

Wright Aeronautical je B-29 opremil s štirimi radialnimi motorji R-3350 Duplex Cyclone, ki so bili takrat najmočnejši, z 2200 KM. Vsak motor je bil opremljen z dvema turbopolnilnikoma General Electric, ki sta R-3350 ohranila največjo moč do 30.000 čevljev nadmorske višine, kar je Superfortressu omogočilo tako visoko nadmorsko višino kot hitrost na višini. B-29 pa je med zgodnjo uporabo zajel motorne požare. Magnezij (v pirotehniki se uporablja z belim plamenom) v komponentah motorja in ogrodja je še poslabšal težavo.

Obrambne puške v režiji elektromehanskih računalnikov

Popolnoma oborožene različice B-29 so imele pet topnikov-zgornjo naprej in nazaj, spodaj naprej in nazaj ter repno kupolo s posadko. Vsaka kupola je imela dve puški, razen zgornje sprednje, ki je imela štiri. Vse kupole so bile na električni pogon (B-29 je bilo električno letalo z več kot 100 elektromotorji, vključno z aktiviranjem podvozja), daljinsko vidno in nadzorovano (brez dostopa do strelca med letom, vključno z repno kupolo), elektromehansko usmerjen računalnik z ročno streljanimi pištolami.

General Electric je razvil sistem centralnega nadzora požara, ki ga je sestavljalo pet medsebojno povezanih elektromehanskih analognih računalnikov, po en na kupolo pištole. Vsak strelec bi lahko streljal neposredno s svojim orožjem, če računalniški sistem ne deluje. Vsi strelci so imeli nadzor nad svojim stolpom in sekundarni nadzor nad drugimi - domofon je zagotavljal komunikacijo med strelci. Strelec je lahko iz svojega opazovalnega položaja izstrelil puške druge kupole in edinstveno izstrelil pištole dveh ali več stolpov hkrati.

Na tisoče teh računalnikov je izdelalo in uporabljalo B-29. Ta program torej predstavlja prvo množično proizvodnjo in uporabo elektronskih računalnikov, čeprav so vključevali mehanske komponente in tako niso bili zgolj "elektronski".

Obrambni oborožitveni sistem se je izkazal za uspešnega v boju in je bil med vojno izključen med borci. 27. januarja 1945 je B-29, označen kot "B-29 A Square 52", dosegel 14 ubojev nad Tokijem na Japonskem, in sicer: udarila sta ga dva lovca, strelci so nato sestrelili še 12 lovcev, poškodovani bombnik je preletel 1500 milj nazaj v Saipan s tremi motorji, nesreča pristala, vsi člani posadke so preživeli, vendar je bilo letalo odpisano. To je verjetno največje število umorov zrak-zrak z enim letalom v eni misiji.

Bojne misije B-29

Za uvedbo B-29 v boj so bombarderji sedeli v Indiji za napad na japonske cilje v Indokini. Bojne operacije so se začele 5. junija 1944 z bombardiranjem Bangkoka v Siamu (Tajska). Za bombardiranje Japonske so bile pripravljene kitajske uprizoritvene baze. Za izpeljavo misije iz Kitajske so morali B-29 svoje zaloge najprej prepeljati iz Indije čez "Hump" na Kitajsko. Ko se je nabralo dovolj materiala, so B-29 udarili iz Japonske iz svojih kitajskih baz. Ti napadi so bili neučinkoviti in dragi.

Ko so Japonci zavzeli skupino pacifiških Marijanskih otokov, je bilo na voljo veliko boljše mesto za začetek napadov B-29 proti Japonski. Marijane so bile bližje, mornarica pa je prinesla potrebne zaloge. Na otokih Tinian, Saipan in Guam je bilo zgrajenih pet ogromnih letalskih baz.

Prvi napadi na Japonsko so bile doktrinarne misije natančnega bombardiranja na visoki nadmorski višini, za katere je bil B-29 izrecno zasnovan. Le minimalno so vplivali na japonske vojne proizvodne zmogljivosti. Sprememba vodstva je poveljnika postavila generala Curtissa LeMaya, kmalu je zamenjal taktiko. Bombardiranje na majhni nadmorski višini, območno bombardiranje z neoboroženimi B-29, ki so bacale ognjene bombe na japonska mesta, se je izkazalo za zelo uspešno. Ti napadi so bili najbolj uničujoči v zgodovini, vključno z atomskim bombardiranjem, izravnavanjem mest in pohabljanjem njihovih vojnih prizadevanj za proizvodnjo.

Atomske bombe

Dve atomski bombi, ki so jih B-29 spustili na Japonsko, ostajata edini, ki sta bili kdaj uporabljeni v vojskovanju. 6. avgusta 1945 je bil imenovan B-29 z imenom Enola Gay bombardiral Hirošimo. Tri dni kasneje, brez japonske ponudbe predaje, je bil imenovan B-29 Bockscar bombardiral Nagasaki. V nasprotju s splošnim prepričanjem ti napadi niso končali vojne.

Nadaljevalo se je z največjo močjo B-29 s 828 bombniki, ki je napadlo 14. avgusta 1945. Tudi potem, ko so se Japonci strinjali s prekinitvijo ognja 15. avgusta, so se boji nadaljevali do 18. avgusta, ko je verjetno prišlo do zadnje akcije. Japonski lovci so napadli dve foto letali B-32, ki sta leteli nad Tokijem, dva člana posadke sta bila ranjena, eden pa je bil ubit.

Smrtonosno vojno letalo je imelo humanitarno plat

B-29, čeprav je za svoje sovražnike deloval kot smrtonosno vojno letalo, je imel svoje misije humanitarni vidik. Verjetno edinstven v vojnih analih, Superfortress je spustil letake nad Japonsko, v katerih so našteta mesta, ki bodo naslednja bombardirana, zato so se nekateri prebivalci nedvomno lahko izognili škodi. B-29 z vzdevkom Super Dumbos so svojim padlim bratom ponudili storitev iskanja in reševanja v oceanu. Po vojni so pripadniki B-29 padli hrano in oblačila zapornikom taborišč vojnih ujetnikov.

Boetlegged B-29 Sovjetske zveze

Proti koncu vojne je Sovjetska zveza opazila množično uničenje, ki so ga v Nemčiji in na Japonskem obiskali zavezniški bombniki. Ker nimajo enakovrednega letala, si je ZSSR nameraval reproducirati najboljši bombnik, in sicer B-29. Sovjetske sile so imele dostop do najnovejših nemških turboreaktivnih in raketnih letal, vendar je bilo B-29 edino kopirano letalo (ZDA so med vojno reproducirale nemško raketo V-1 Buzz Bomb, vendar je niso uporabile).

Na srečo Rusov so med vojno v njihove roke prišli trije B-29, iz teh vzorcev letal pa so sovjetski oblikovalci vzpostavili skoraj repliko, imenovano Tupolev Tu-4. Celoten segment letalske industrije je bil ustvarjen za proizvodnjo zelo naprednih letalskih okvirjev, motorjev, električnih in elektronskih komponent, ki so zanj potrebne. Zgradili so več kot 800 proizvodnih letal.

B-29 v korejski vojni

B-29 se je znova boril med korejsko vojno, v kateri je sovražnik uporabil tako propelerske kot tudi zelo hitre turboreaktivne lovce, da bi ustavil napade bombardiranja. Bombarderji so bili posodobljeni z močnejšimi motorji, propelerji z obračljivo višino in drugimi izboljšavami. B-29 so med vojno delovali vseh 26 dni, razen 35 mesecev, z relativno majhno silo nekaj več kot 100 bombnikov. Kljub temu je na korejske cilje padla tonaža bombe, skoraj enaka tisti v prejšnji pacifiški kampanji. Pametne bombe so bile odvržene na korejske cilje, radijsko vodeni Razon in velikansko orožje Tarzon (12.000 funtov) pa sta uspešno podrla mostove.

B-29 so leteli podnevi in ​​ponoči na misijah v spremstvu lovcev, ki so jih spremljali, vendar so turboreaktivni lovci Mig-15 (samo) podrli nekatere velike bombnike, hkrati pa so izgubili obrambno orožje. V pomembni akciji je tri bombnike Mig-15 sestrelil en sam bombnik, ki je preživel vojno, kasneje pa sta predstavljala še dva Mig-15.

Matična ladja do nadzvočnega letala

Super utrdba je bila ključnega pomena za prvi uspešen let nadzvočnega letala s posadko. 14. oktobra 1947 je matična ladja B-29 prenesla raziskovalno letalo raketnih motorjev Air Force Bell XS-1 (zasnova iz druge svetovne vojne) na višino izstrelitve. Po izpustitvi iz B-29 je kapitan Chuck Yeager pilotiral XS-1 do 700 mph/1,06 Mach. Zanimivo je, da so Sovjeti v podobnem raziskovalnem programu uporabljali svoje Tu-4 in zajeli B-29 kot matične ladje.

Konec aktivne storitve

21. junija 1960 je B-29 opravil svojo zadnjo misijo za letalske sile, vendar zasnova še danes živi v ruskem bombniku Tupolev Tu-20 Bear, katerega obrambni sistem je bil izpeljan iz B-29, ujetih med drugo svetovno vojno . Komunistična Kitajska očitno še vedno leti Tupolev Tu-4, modificiran s turbopropelerskimi motorji in radarskim rotodomom, v vlogi zgodnjega opozarjanja v zraku.

Trije proizvajalci so v petih tovarnah zgradili 3960 superforsov. Boeingove tovarne v Seattlu, Rentonu in Wichiti so dokončale 2766 letal, kar je 70 odstotkov vseh letal. Objekt Renton, ki je danes dom Boeingovih letal z enim prehodom, je 28. maja 1946 zgradil zadnji B-29.


Bombarder Superfortress poleti - ZGODOVINA

14. februarja 1945 je topel vetrič pod modrim nebom Kansas Sky spodbujal veliko množico med slovesno dostavo 1.000. B-29 na predpasniku Boeing-Wichita.
(Foto: Uprava državnega arhiva in evidenc)

    Prva težava je bila najti krilo za dvig velikana. Iskanje krila "izven police" ni prineslo nič primernega. Vsako krilo bi imelo dovolj dviga, le da bi imelo preveč vleka pri potovalni hitrosti. Druga bi imela nizke vlečne, vendar zlobne lastnosti stojnice. Spet drugi bi imel nizek upor, dobre lastnosti stojnice in premalo dviga, da bi pošast s 105.000 funtov zletel s katere koli vzletno -pristajalne steze primerne dolžine. Rešitev? Boeing je oblikoval lastno krilo, imenovano Boeingovo krilo "117". Ko je bila zasnova krila končana, je bila dolga 141 čevljev in je imela površino 1736 kvadratnih čevljev. Imel je niz zavihkov, ki bi povečali površino kril za 350 kvadratnih čevljev, za boljši nadzor pri počasnejših hitrostih. Z umaknjenimi zavihki je imelo krilo zelo nizek upor, kar je omogočalo večje hitrosti. Boeing je moral razviti način za izdelavo dveh krilnih lopatic, ki sta bili najdaljši in najtežji iztiskani Duralumin. Med preskusom uničenja krila Boeing 117 je bilo za razpad krila potrebnih 300.000 funtov pritiska.

    Zgodaj se je Boeing boril s problemom udobja posadke v Superfortressu. Pri manjših bombnikih je bil problem manjši zaradi omejenega dosega. Z vzdržljivostjo Superfortress bi lahko posadka letela do 18 ur v zraku na nadmorski višini 32.000 čevljev, kjer bi se lahko temperatura spustila na 50 ° pod ničlo. To je pomenilo, da bi morala biti območja posadke B-29 pod pritiskom. Če pa je bilo letalo pod tlakom, kako bi lahko odprli 40 čevljev trupa zunanjemu zračnemu pritisku pri 32.000 čevljih, da bi odvrgli bombe? Rešitev pritiska na območja spredaj in zadaj dvojnega oddelka za bombo in oba dela poveže z veliko cevjo, nameščeno na vrhu oddelkov za bombe, tako da lahko letalci pridejo z enega dela ladje na drugega.

    Potem so se pojavile težave z velikimi 16-palčnimi propelerji Hamilton Standard, ki so povzročali "run-a-way" motorje, težave s štirimi barbettami na daljinsko vodeno pištolo, težave z "mehurčki za nadzor ognja" kjer so bili strelci nameščeni za ciljanje na barbette, so mehurji včasih izpihali, ko je bilo plovilo pod pritiskom in je letelo na visoki nadmorski višini. (Strelcem so svetovali, naj nosijo varnostno vrvico, da se izognejo pihanju čez krov, če bi prišlo do pretisnega omota). Težave so bile ojačevalniki za krmilo in težave z radarjem.

V pričakovanju končnih letalskih preizkusov bo impresivno število drugih B-29 med slovesnostjo napolnilo parkirni predpasnik Boeing-Witchita.
(Foto: Uprava državnega arhiva in evidenc)

    Nazadnje, v ponedeljek, 21. septembra 1942, so pred skoraj vsemi zaposlenimi v Boeingu, ki so prispevali več kot 1.300.000 delovnih ur pri projektu Model 345, številko ena XB-29 predstavili na vzletno-pristajalni stezi na Boeing Fieldu , Seattle. Motorji so bili ogreti, uporabljena je bila vzletna moč in Eddie Allen, glavni preizkusni pilot Boeings, je prvo supertrdbo dvignil s steze tako gladko, kot da bi to počel že leta. 52-tonsko plovilo se je vztrajno dvigovalo na 6000 čevljev, kjer je Allen opravil predhodne preizkuse krmiljenja za smolo, nihanje in premikanje. Po 1-urnem letu je ogromno letalo pripeljal nazaj na gladek pristanek. Drugi prototip je poletel tri mesece kasneje. 2

    Kot merilo težav, ki jih je treba rešiti v 97 dneh po prvem letu, je Allenu uspelo nabrati le 27 ur letenja v številki 1. Vendar pa je kot merilo temeljne celovitosti letalo samo, skozi njegovo proizvodno zgodovino ni bila potrebna niti ena osnovna sprememba letalskega ogrodja.

Cpl. John J. Green, 19 let, mehanik iz Eugena v Oregonu, gleda na zmogljiv motor kot Cpl. 22-letni Robert L. Cover, letalski mehanik iz Joplina v Missouriju (desno) pomaga od zunaj, ko moža zamenjata turbopolnilnik na Boeingu B-29 Superfort v letalski bazi v Okinawi, Ryukyu Retto. Datumi približno 12.09.1950
(Foto: Uprava državnega arhiva in evidenc)

    Najbolj neizprosen problem je bil motor Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone z 2.200 KM. Imel je vztrajno nagnjenost k pregrevanju, pogoltnenju ventilov in celo vžigu med letom. V prizadevanju, da bi iz lažjega motorja proizvedli več konjskih moči, je bilo ohišje motorja izdelano iz magnezija, zelo lahke, zelo močne kovine. Težava je bila, da je magnezij tudi vnetljiva kovina. Ko je bilo to združeno z dodatno težavo sistema za indukcijo goriva, ki se je nagibal vžgati in goreti dovolj dolgo, da je ujel ogenj magnezija, je to postala zelo resna situacija. Pomagali so tretmaji "Band-Aid", kot so zračne lopute, ki usmerjajo več zraka v zadnjo vrsto jeklenk in manšete propelerja, da bi skozi zrak vdrle več zraka, vendar bi moralo biti veliko lun, preden bi težavo odpravili. Boeing je izgubil svojega glavnega preizkusnega pilota skupaj s smetano letalske preizkusne posadke B-29 zaradi požara, ki je uničil krilo. Kmalu popoldne v četrtek, 18. februarja 1943, je Eddie Allen med letom preizkušal številko dva XB-29, ko je prišlo do požara motorja. Nosilec pristaniškega krila je pogorel in se zrušil, tako da je ogromen bombnik trčil v tovarno mesa, nekaj kilometrov južno od Boeing Fielda. Vseh enajst moških na letalu in 18 v tovarni je bilo takoj ubitih.

    Sčasoma je senator Harry S. Truman (ki bo kasneje postal predsednik Truman) vodil odbor, ki se je ukvarjal s težavami motorja Wright R-3350. Odbor je ugotovil, da je Wright Aeronautical kriv za prepuščanje kakovosti odborom v prid količini. Prav tako je po poročilu odbora kriva USAAF, ki je preveč pritisnila na Wrighta, da bi pospešil proizvodnjo R-3350.

"Enduring Eddie" umetnika Johna Younga

Boeing B-29 "Eddie Allen" je bil veliko več kot le še en bojni stroj, ki si je prizadeval za konec druge svetovne vojne. Letalo je dobilo ime po slavnem testnem pilotu Boeinga Edmundu T. "Eddieju" Allenu, letalo pa je bilo plačano z donacijami zaposlenih v Boeingu Wichiti in ga podarilo USAAF kot darilo. "Eddie Allen" je dobro služil svoji državi in ​​preletel 24 bojnih nalog, preden je bil tako močno poškodovan, da se skoraj ni mogel vrniti v bazo na otoku Tinian Island. Poškodovano letalo ni smelo več leteti, njegovi ostanki pa so ostali na majhnem pacifiškem otoku.

    Čeprav težave niso bile popolnoma rešene, so bile do konca leta 1943 pod nadzorom, v kolikor sta Boeing-Renton in Bell-Marietta začela izdelovati prvo od skoraj 2.000 super-krem B-29, ki jih vsebuje prva naročila za dostavo na USAAF.

    Oborožen je bil s sistemom samodejnega izračunavanja ognja General Electric, sestavljenim iz osmih daljinsko vodenih mitraljezov kalibra 0,50, nameščenih v štirih barbetah, ki se nahajajo na vrhu in na dnu trupa spredaj in zadaj. Kasnejši modeli so dodali še dve mitraljezi na zgornjo sprednjo palico za pomoč pri obrambi pred čelnimi napadi. Nadzor nad štirimi barbettami se lahko prenese na enega strelca ali pa se deli med sprednje, desne, leve in zgornje strelce. Repni topnik je nadzoroval še dva strela .50s plus 20-milimetrski top. Ocenjuje se, da je repni strelec predstavljal 75% vseh sovražnikovih letal, ki jih je uničila supertrdnjava. Eden od razlogov za to je bil 20 mm top. Druga je bila počasna stopnja zapiranja sovražnika, ki se je približeval od zadaj, kar je omogočilo več časa, da je repni strelec opazil vsiljivca.

    Sprva je imel B-29 največjo dovoljeno težo okoli 105.000 funtov, ki so jo hitro nadgradili na 138.000 funtov. V zadnjih fazah vojne z Japonsko je bila skupna vzletna teža nad 140.000 funtov za Superfortress precej običajna.

    Ogromnih 40% trupa je bilo namenjenih nošenju bomb. Dvojni oddelek za bombo bi lahko odnesel 16.000 funtov do cilja, oddaljenega 2.050 milj, in se vrnil v bazo. Za polnjenje rezervoarjev je bilo potrebnih 6988 litrov 100 -oktanskega letalskega goriva. Največja zmogljivost je bila 9.548 litrov s trajektnimi cisternami v oddelkih za bombe, v tem primeru je bil doseg razširjen na 6.000 milj.

Ko se je vrnil z bombardiranja na Japonskem, je ta trdnjava Boeing B-29 Superfortress prisilno pristala na bazi 7. poveljstva lovcev Iwo Jima, potem ko je med misijo utrpela bojno škodo.

    Superfortress je bila opremljena v dveh osnovnih konfiguracijah. Obstajala je foto različica "F13", ki je bila uporabljena za pridobivanje ciljnih fotografij Japonske in dejansko celotnega zahodnega Pacifika in vzhodne Azije. Obstajali so tudi B-29, B-29A in B-29B, ki so bili vsi enaki, čeprav so bile njihove "notranjosti" včasih zelo različne. Ko se je vsaka Superfortress spuščala po tekočem traku, je bila deležna najnovejših modifikacij USAAF, ki so privedle do 3.974 B-29, od katerih se je vsaka le nekoliko razlikovala od naslednje. 3

    Supertrdba se je kljub mehanskim in elektronskim težavam dobro oprostila v pacifiški vojni. Sprva ni bilo nenavadno, da misija izgubi več letal zaradi mehanskih težav kot zaradi sovražnika. 10. februarja 1945 je štiriindvajset od 118 letal B-29, poslanih iz 73. in 313., napadlo tovarno letal Nakajima v Oti in 14 napadlo druge cilje. Enajst od dvanajstih B-29, izgubljenih na misiji, je podleglo operativnim nesrečam in mehanskim okvaram. But, as the Crew Chiefs became more adept at field modification, the numbers slowly began to improve.

    The major factor in creating an efficient bombing machine out of the Superfortress was an Air Forces Major General named Curtis E. LeMay. Nicknamed "Iron Ass", LeMay was put in command of the Marianas based B-29s and was responsible for solving several of the Superfortress and operational problems in one stroke: He ordered the B-29 crews to remove the guns (the tail guns were replaced with broom sticks so the enemy fighter pilots, hopefully, wouldn't become aware of the missing guns). Also the gunners and all the ammunition were to be removed. And he ordered the missions flown at 8,000 to 12,000 feet. Bombing accuracy had been miserable because of the high winds at the 28,000 to 34,000 foot level where previous mission had been flown. Aborts were common because of engines which overheated in the process of climbing to which altitude. With the new procedures, fuel could be saved, without the weight of guns, ammunition and gunners, more bombs could be carried, engines would run cooler and bombing would be done from below the fierce winds raging over Japan. 4

The Enola Gay was the world's first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. The bomb was dropped from 31,600 feet on Hiroshima, Japan on August 8, 1945 at 8:15:17 a.m.

    LeMay faced a near-mutiny from his crews who were certain Japanese flak batteries would rip them to pieces at such a low altitude. And he knew his butt was on the line to his superiors if it turned into a massacre. But he stuck to his decision and it was a good one. Casualties went down, the number of targets destroyed rose dramatically and the number of aborts due to overheated engines dropped. The air war against the Japanese home islands entered a new and apocalyptic phase where city after city was nearly obliterated by firebombs. The city of Toyama was 99.5% destroyed in one raid by 173 B-29s on the night of August 1, 1945!

    At 2:45am, Monday, August 6, 1945 an ordinary looking B-29-45-MO, serial number 44-86292 sat at the end of the runway at North Field, Tinian, an obscure little island in the Marianas Group of the western Pacific. The engines were run up one at a time, a spot light illuminating each to check for undue smoke or other disorder. The only thing peculiar about the ship at all was the name no raucous female nude in a suggestive pose painted on the nose, just the rather unremarkable printing: "Enola Gay". Sitting in the left seat was Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group in the right seat was Captain Robert Lewis. The Group had been at Tinian since June and curiosity amongst the other Groups was mounting. The 509th didn't seem to have a particular mission, just a few "training" flights to Truk and other low priority targets in Japan itself. They kept their distance from the other Groups, didn't mingle at all. In another few hours, the whole world would know of the mission of the 509th Composite Group and this particular aircraft, the Enola Gay.

    Lifting 75 tons off the runway, she was on her way to Japan. At 8:15:17 a.m. the Enola Gay was over Hiroshima, Japan at 31,600 feet when the worlds first atomic bomb to be dropped from an aircraft, was toggled. Two minutes later it exploded over the city at an altitude of about 2,000 feet. The bomb wiped out a circle 4.5 miles in diameter in the middle of Hiroshima. On August 9, another atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Six days later, the Japanese unconditionally surrendered. Thus the end of World War II was brought about in no small measure by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. 5

The "Enola Gay" forward fuselage undergoing restoration at the Garber Restoration Facility in 1989.
The "Enola Gay" aft fuselage undergoing restoration at the Garber Restoration Facility in 1999.

Specifikacije:
Boeing B-29A Superfortress
Dimenzije:
Razpon kril: 141 ft. 3 in (43.05 m)
Dolžina: 99 ft. 0 in (30.17 m)
Višina: 29 ft. 7 in (9.02 m)
Območje krila: 1,736 sq ft (529.13 sq m)
Uteži:
Prazno: 72,208 lb (32,752 kg)
Maximum Take-Off: 140,000 lb (63,502 kg)
Izvedba:
Največja hitrost: 399 mph (642 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9,144 m)
Servisni strop: 23,950 ft (7,299 m)
Combat Ceiling: 36,150 ft (11,018 m)
Normal Range: 4,200 miles (6,759 km)
(with 18,000 lbs. (8,164 kg) bombs)
Elektrarna:
Four Wright R-3350-57 Duplex Cyclone twin-row radial
2,200 hp (1,640 kW) take-off, 2,500 hp (1,864 kW) WE, air-cooled
Oborožitev:
Eight or twelve 50-cal. machine-guns. One 20mm cannon.
Maximum bomb Load: 20,000 lbs. (9,0710 kg)

1. Chris Chant. From 1914 to the Present Day, The World's Great Bpmbers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books Inc., 2000. 136.
2. F. G. Swanborough. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1963. 85.
3. Peter M. Bowers. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968. 281.
4. Dr. Alfred Price. Instruments of Darkness. London: Greenhill Books, 2005. 245.
5. David Mondey. The Concise Guide to American Aircraft of World War II. New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1982. 32.

© Earl Swinhart. Spletni muzej letalske zgodovine. Vse pravice pridržane.
Created August 3, 2000. Updated April 23, 2014.


History in flight: Last operational B-29 Superfortress bomber visits Mesa

MESA – As an Air Force mechanic in the 1950s, Jim Mathews worked on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the bomber that earlier rained destruction on Japan to end World War II.

On Thursday, he traveled back through the decades as he watched the world’s last operational B-29 bomber land here.

“It’s kind of nostalgic,” Mathews said. “I’d sure like to fly in it.”

The bomber, along with five other historic military planes operated by the Commemorative Air Force, will be at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport through Sunday for visitors to view or fly in.

A flight on the B-29 costs between $600 and $1,500, depending on the seat choice.

Mathews, who was stationed at Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from 1951 to 1955, said he visited just for the B-29.

He and his wife have seen B-29s in museums, but he said he needed the chance to watch a B-29 actually fly again.

“That airplane was kind of a challenge for us,” he said, adding that the construction was unique and difficult for mechanics and pilots to master.

The Commemorative Air Force’s history tour brings together an assortment of military aircraft to honor the men and women who built, maintained and flew in the planes in wartime. The planes move Monday to Deer Valley Airport, their last stop in Arizona, for two days.

Mike Selk, a pilot with the Commemorative Air Force’s Arizona wing, volunteered to fly a 1944 Navy SNJ trainer plane in the tour. He has worked for years with the Commemorative Air Force, a private organization that collects, restores and flies military planes.

“It’s just a privilege to be in this airplane,” he said. “It’s fun to clean it. It’s fun to take pictures of it. It’s just a nice piece of history.”

Tour visitor Thomas Moeller came from his retirement home to see a B-29 fly for the first time.

He said he has kept a model of the B-29 in his bedroom for nearly 60 years. When he was 14 and suffering from rheumatic fever, classmates gave him the model to build while home sick.

“When I put it together, I was so proud I took it to class and showed it to them,” he said. “I’ve kept it ever since.”

As the memory of World War II fades, the chance to experience history is important, said Patrick Oakley, the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport community relations coordinator.

“It’s a win-win for us,” Oakley said. “People just love airplanes.”

Debbie King, the first female pilot to fly the B-29 since World War II, called the plane a flying museum.

“It’s a little overwhelming if you think, ‘Wow, this is the last one,’” she said. “We need to keep these airplanes out in front of the public.”

A B-29 Superfortress operated by the Commemorative Air Force was on display at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport after landing Thursday.

Jim Mathews, who maintained B-29s in the 1950s as an Air Force mechanic, watched a Superfortress operated by the Commemorative Air Force land in Mesa with his wife, Irene.


They were some of the most advanced and high performance military aircraft of their time.

During the Cold War, improvements in aviation technology were important in ensuring that each side could effectively [. ]

The B-29 Superfortress

The role of strategic bombing in war was heavily emphasized by airpower theorists during the time between [. ]

Aviation during the First World War

Were aircraft too primative to be useful? Or did they play an important role in the war?


How the B-50 Superfortress Bomber Became an Early Cold War Icon

Tukaj morate vedeti: While the B-29 was responsible for the three deadliest bombing raids in history, its successor the B-50 never dropped a bomb in anger.

Quiz time! Which secret American military project during World War II proved even more expensive than the $2 billion Manhattan Project which developed U.S. atomic bombs?

That would be the $3 billion B-29 Superfortress—the huge four-engine bomber designed to fly across huge distances and drop those atomic bombs.

The silver-skinned B-29’s four huge turbo-supercharged R-3350 Duplex Cyclone radial engines allowed the 37-ton aircraft (when empty!) to fly relatively fast at 290 to 350 miles per hour and at altitudes exceeding 30,000 feet, making it extremely difficult for Japanese interceptors to catch up with them.

But even as World War II ground on to its conclusion, the Air Force appreciated that the Superfortress’s advantages would soon vanish due to the advent of turbojet-powered fighters. As the Cold War gathered momentum in the late 1940s, it further became vital for the Air Force to have a nuclear bomber that could strike Russia from U.S. bases.

These needs culminated in a new B-29D model with engine power cranked up nearly 60 percent using a 3,500 horsepower R-4360 Wasp Major engine and a skin made of stronger but lighter 75-S aluminum alloy. Together, this lowered the weight of the wings by 600 pounds and increased speed to nearly 400 miles per hour. Other trimmings included a taller tail fin, hydraulically assisted controls, and wing and window de-icing systems.

The end of World War II saw the cancellation of B-29 orders. To rescue the program, the military redesignated the B-29D as the B-50 to imply the aircraft incorporated more original design features than was actually the case—hardly the first nor the last time misleading aircraft designations have been adopted for political purposes.

Only a small run of sixty B-50As were produced in Washington, and these went onto become the tip of the newly-formed Strategic Air Command’s nuclear deterrence fleet in 1948 until huge B-36 Peacemaker and B-47 Stratojet jet bombers could enter service.

A small number of B-50Bs were then built with lighter-weight fuel cells, until the Air Force settled on the B-50D to commit to larger-scale manufacture of 222 bombers. The last model downsized the crew from eleven to eight, had provisions for external fuel tanks, featured a simplified nose cone, and included a built-in inflight-refueling boom.

The B-50 fleet suffered its share of teething issues too due to defective pressure regulators, engine problems, and cracking of its aluminum skin which took several years to iron out. Furthermore, as the Pentagon kept on rapidly deploying new types of nuclear bombs, the B-50 bombers had to be repeatedly converted to fit them in their bomb bays.

When the Korean War broke out in the 1950s, only the older B-29s were called into perform non-nuclear strikes—where they suffered unexpected losses to Soviet MiG-15 jet fighters. With speeds approaching 680 miles per hour and high climb rates, the MiG-15 demonstrated that even the B-50’s higher speeds and altitudes were of little advantage due to advancing jet technology. This led to the cancellation in 1949 of an experimentally re-engined model first called the YB-50C with 4,500-horsepower engines.

However, the B-29 and B-50 by then were at the forefront of pioneering air-to-air refueling technology, which would allow the kind of extended range bombing raids the SAC was aiming for. Initially, this involved converting B-29s into KB-29s tankers, that would use a long hose to refuel nuclear-armed B-50s.

In 1949, the B-50A Srečna dama II became the first aircraft to fly around the world in an epic ninety-four-hour flight between February 26 and March 2. (An earlier attempt by B-50 Global Queen, had to be aborted due to engine failures.) She was refueled by no less than four pairs of KB-29M tankers flying out of the Azores, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Hawaii along its 23,452 mile-long journey. This record would finally be beaten in 1956 in less than half the time by a brand-new B-52 jet bomber.

Before that, in 1953 jet-powered B-47s began entering service while B-29s came to be retired, so it naturally fell to B-50s to take on the support duties. Ironically, the B-50 would go on to see far more action in these support roles than as a bomber.

Altogether 136 B-50s were converted into KB-50 tankers. Starting in 1956, 112 were further modified into the KB-50J model by adding J-47 turbojet engines from the B-47 bomber to help them sustain higher speeds and altitudes to keep up with the bombers they were refueling. The add-on turbojets boosted the KB-50J’s maximum speed to 444 miles per hour—slightly faster than a World War II-era Mustang fighter.

The RB-50B and RB-50E were photo-reconnaissance planes dispatched on increasingly dangerous overflights over Soviet and North Korean airspace. Some of these “ferret” missions were even intended to provoke Soviet intercepts, allowing U.S. spies to listen in on the resulting radio chatter and radar activity, studying what kind of defenses were in place.

The RB-50G was an electronic spy plane full of special consuls, with an expanded crew of sixteen. This too proved a risky mission: in 1953 the RB-50G Little Red Ass was shot down over the near Vladivostok by two MiG-17 fighters. Of aircraft’s eighteen crew that managed to bail out, only the co-pilot survived the freezing waters of the Sea of Japan to be rescued by a U.S. destroyer.

There was even the WB-50D, a “hurricane hunter” plane operated by the National Weather Service to track violent weather events—and also sample radiation levels in the to monitor Soviet nuclear tests during the early 1950s. These saw so much rough duty that six WB-50s were lost with the total loss of their crew. Weather reconnaissance reports from WB-50s were instrumental in planning the U-2 spy plane flights that discovered Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, triggering the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The various B-50 variants were finally retired in the 1950s, their aluminum airframe aging poorly after seeing much hard use. A half-century later, the C-135 family of planes based on the 707 airliner continue to perform the numerous support roles the B-50 had pioneered—especially the air-to-air refueling technology which continues to undergird U.S. airpower into the twenty-first century.

While the B-29 was responsible for the three deadliest bombing raids in history—the firebombing of Tokyo and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—its successor the B-50 never dropped a bomb in anger.

However, it would not be entirely accurate to say it never fired a strel v boju. The RB-53G that was shot down near Vladivostok fired back ineffectively at its pursuers. And in March 15, 1953 a WB-50 flying in international airspace near the Kamchatka peninsula was intercepted by two MiG-15 fighters. These tailed weather-recon plane for a while before one opened fire, and the WB-50’s tail gunner shot back. Fortunately, this time everyone returned to base.

Sébastien Roblin je magistriral iz reševanja konfliktov na univerzi Georgetown in je bil univerzitetni inštruktor za mirovni korpus na Kitajskem. Delal je tudi v izobraževanju, urejanju in preselitvi beguncev v Franciji in ZDA. Trenutno piše o varnostni in vojaški zgodovini za knjigo War Is Boring.


T Square 45: A B-29 Bomber Returns to its Former Glory

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress T Square 54 shines on static display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

The Seattle Museum of Flight’s meticulous B-29 restoration has returned most of the veteran bomber’s controls to working order.

Given its location on historic Boeing Field, it’s not surprising that Seattle’s Museum of Flight exhibits a wide variety of Boeing aircraft. Among its latest restorations is another Boeing product, a combat-veteran B-29 Superfortress. The shiny new bomber, serial no. 44-69729, rolled out of the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kan., on New Year’s Day 1945. Accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 4, the new Superfortress had its “address” prominently displayed on the broad, tall vertical stabilizer: a black “T” for the 498th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) above a square for the 73rd Bomb Wing and the number 54 as the 54th aircraft assigned to the 875th Squadron.

T Square 54’s first mission, on the night of March 9-10, was a low-level incendiary raid on Tokyo that burned 16 square miles of the city and marked a change in tactics for the Twentieth Air Force bombers. Over the next several weeks T54 flew missions over Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya to mark targets in advance of the main bomber stream and participated in attacks. During a May 23 night raid, an anti-aircraft shell set the no. 1 engine on fire, but the B-29 made it back on the other three. On August 8, while the radioactive fires were still burning in Hiroshima, T54 flew its 37th and final mission to industrial targets in Yawata.


T Square 54 drops its payload during one of 37 combat missions it flew over Japan in 1945. (The Museum of Flight)

During the Cold War the veteran bomber was sent back to Boeing’s Wichita plant for conversion as a KB-29 aerial tanker. At Biggs Air Force Base in Texas, no. 729 was part of Strategic Air Command’s 95th Bomb Wing, flying missions to the UK. In 1956, after 11 years of service, it was finally retired from the Air Force and given to the Navy.

Transported to the Weap­ons Testing Center at Naval Air Station China Lake, high in the California desert, 729 joined several other B-29s as bombing targets for naval aviators. They had little luck in hitting the old veteran. In the 1970s the Air Force, realizing there were few Superfortresses left, ordered a stop to using them as targets. By the early 1980s 729 was among the last salvageable wartime B-29s left. In 1986 the dilapidated bomber was trucked in pieces to Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado, where it underwent its first restoration.

In 1993, with Lowry designated for closure, the Museum of Flight began negotiations aimed at restoring 729 to its original appearance. Retired AT&T engineer Dale Thompson eventually oversaw the project.

Thompson said the bomber was in bad shape when Lowry first received it. “The aluminum skin was very weathered, some of the windows were broken, so the desert dust had blown in and covered everything,” he noted. “The tires were all flat and cracked. The engines were frozen, with pools of solid oil in the nacelles. All the wiring and cabling was gone or degraded. The wartime bombing equipment was gone, replaced by the air tanker gear. The control surfaces are fabric over an aluminum frame, and after all those years sitting in the sun at China Lake they were nothing more than shreds.”


A view of the command pilot’s position and working Norden bombsight. (The Museum of Flight)

Lowry restored the exterior and repaired the damage, but what Thompson and his team faced was far more daunting. The Superfortress was in effect a huge metal jigsaw puzzle with dozens of missing pieces, some of which no longer existed. Rare wartime armament, radar, navigation, communications and bombing equipment had to be found or machined from original 1944 specifications. All four engines had to be stripped down and rebuilt, along with the hydraulics, instruments, flight controls, and oxygen and interphone systems.

Several hundred volunteers gave their time to the old bomber. “We had ex-USAF personnel, people who worked at Boeing and a lot of folks who just offered their time and effort,” reported Thompson. Boeing opened their archives to the project, allowing the team to copy any drawings, diagrams and photos they needed.

“The cockpit is about 90 percent complete,” said Thompson. “During the war the inner skin was just bare aluminum, but at all the crew stations it was insulated and covered with cotton fabric. All the cotton fabric is in place now. The tunnel through the bomb bay is lined too. We have the Norden bombsight and it actually works. We had it running and even an hour after it was turned off, the gyros were still spinning. Beautiful machinery. It looks brand-new.


A look at the flight engineer’s station, which is situated just aft of the copilot facing backward. (The Museum of Flight)

“We had machinists who custom-made parts from original Boeing drawings. Syd Baker built bomb racks from scratch in his garage. All the instrument panels and labels are there, and their surfaces have been done with the proper black finish. It looks absolutely new.

“The control cabling has been replaced,” continued Thompson. “The pulleys and guides are perfect and they operate the control surfaces. The command radios do work. Some licensed ham operators were on the team. We had two wartime pilots in the B-17 and B-29 and told them to talk and simulate a mission. They were so happy to use those radios again.”

Thompson said the team worked a deal with Travis Air Force Base to wrangle up some critical parts. “It’s the only B-29 in the world where all five turrets work,” he proudly noted. “We invited a B-29 gunner to come on board. He settled into his old seat at the gunsight and said, ‘I wish I could fire these babies again.’ So I told him, ‘Go ahead. It works.’ This guy takes the handgrips and twists it around. The turret turns and the guns elevate. He was overjoyed, just like a kid. Then I told him to fire the guns. He did, and this chattering roar made him jump,” Thompson laughed. “We had this recorded sound of the .50s firing when he pulled the trigger. He was smiling from ear to ear.”

Today the revitalized veteran bomber is on display in the museum’s Aviation Pavilion. You can take a 360-degree virtual tour of the B-29’s immaculate interior at museumofflight.org.

This article appeared in the January 2021 issue of Letalska zgodovina. To subscribe click here!


Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber Tour

Gayle Anderson was live in Camarillo for the tour of the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress at Camarillo Airport now through Sunday, March 8 th .

Southern California residents and tourists will experience “hands on” history when FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force’s iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, flies into Camarillo Airport. FIFI and other World War II military aircraft will be on display at the Commemorative Air Force Southern California (SoCal) wing’s facility at 455 Aviation Drive in Camarillo, the first stop of three Southern California stops planned for the CAF AirPower History Tour.

Accompanying aircraft include the CAF SoCal wing’s P-51 Mustang Man O’ War two very rare fighters—a Supermarine Spitfire and Mitsubishi Japanese Zero a C-45 Expeditor and several other vintage military airplanes. Visitors may tour the B-29 cockpit and purchase rides in many of the airplanes.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is best known as the airplane whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a

replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also

used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.

Entry contribution is $15 for adults and $8 for children age 10 through 17. Children under age 10 are free. The airplanes will be on static display when they are not flying. B-29 cockpit tours are included in the contribution. Ride prices range from $75 to $1895. Ride reservations may be made HERE where additional information about the tour stop may also be found.

CAF AirPower History Tour schedule for Camarillo:

Wednesday, March 4 th , 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 5 th , 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • B-29 flies at 9:00 m.
  • Aircraft tours available after 12:00 m.
  • Supporting aircraft available all day

Friday, March 6 th , 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 7 th , 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • B-29 flies at 9:00 m.
  • Aircraft tours available after 12:00 m.
  • Supporting aircraft available all day

Sunday, March 8 th , 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • B-29 flies at 9:00 m.
  • Aircraft tours available after 12:00 m.
  • Supporting aircraft available all day

The CAF So Cal Wing and Air Museum address is 455 Aviation Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010. Camarillo Airport is located near 101 Freeway and Las Posas Road. For more information call the museum at (805) 482-0064.

The non-profit, 501c3 all volunteer organization honors American Military Aviation by educating young people about WWII aircraft history, keeping the memory of those who served our country alive. More information about the So Cal Wing may be found HERE.

The Wing, normally closed on Mondays, will be open Monday March 2 at 9:00 a.m. Aircraft arrival time is planned for noon.

About the CAF AirPower History Tour:

FIFI, celebrating her 41st year of flight with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) in 2015, is visiting local air- ports in Southwest United States this spring as the feature aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour. The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 60 CAF units located throughout the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military aircraft. These aircraft are powerful “hands on” history lessons bringing the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States.

About the CAF’s B-29 Superfortress, FIFI:

FIFI was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California where she was being used as a missile target. The airplane was res- cued and restored and flew for over thirty years until 2006 when the chief pilot made the decision to ground her pending a complete power plant re-fit. What followed was an extensive four year restoration that included re- placing all four engines with new custom built hybrid engines. FIFI returned to the sky in 2010 and since that time has traveled coast to coast attracting large crowds at every tour stop. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule HERE.

About the Commemorative Air Force:

The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight.

Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 10,000 members and a fleet of over 150 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 67 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, click HERE.


Historical Snapshot

Boeing submitted the proposal for the B-29 long-range heavy bomber to the Army in 1940, before the United States entered World War II.

One of the most technologically advanced airplanes of World War II, the B-29 had many new features, including guns that could be fired by remote control. Two crew areas, fore and aft, were pressurized and connected by a long tube over the bomb bays, allowing crew members to crawl between them. The tail gunner had a separate pressurized area that could only be entered or left at altitudes that did not require pressurization.

The B-29 was also the world&rsquos heaviest production plane because of increases in range, bomb load and defensive requirements.

The B-29 used the high-speed Boeing 117 airfoil, and its larger Fowler flaps added to the wing area as they increased lift. Modifications led to the B-29D, upgraded to the B-50, and the RB-29 photoreconnaissance aircraft. The Soviet-built copy of the B-29 was called the Tupolev Tu-4.

The earliest B-29s were built before testing was finished, so the Army established modification centers where last-minute changes could be made without slowing expanding assembly lines.

Boeing built a total of 2,766 B-29s at plants in Wichita, Kan., (previously the Stearman Aircraft Co., merged with Boeing in 1934) and in Renton, Wash. The Bell Aircraft Co. built 668 of the giant bombers in Georgia, and the Glenn L. Martin Co. built 536 in Nebraska. Production ended in 1946.

B-29s were primarily used in the Pacific theater during World War II. As many as 1,000 Superfortresses at a time bombed Tokyo, destroying large parts of the city. Finally, on Aug. 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later a second B-29, Bockscar, dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Shortly thereafter, Japan surrendered.

After the war, B-29s were adapted for several functions, including in-flight refueling, antisubmarine patrol, weather reconnaissance and rescue duty. The B-29 saw military service again in Korea between 1950 and 1953, battling new adversaries: jet fighters and electronic weapons. The last B-29 in squadron use retired from service in September 1960.


Poglej si posnetek: 18 Знаменитые самолеты B 29 Superfortress