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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9


Trainers:
  
Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52


Bombers:
   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell


Transports:
   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation


Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander


Jets:
   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto


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Consolidated B-24 Liberator

(Variants/Other Names: C-87; C-109; LB-30; PB4Y-2 Privateer; RY-3; Liberator C IX)


B-24 Liberator "All American" (now called "Witchcraft")
B-24J N224J, serial no. 44-4405 "All American," operated by the Collings Foundation, later repainted and renamed "The Dragon and His Tail," and now called "Witchcraft." Photo by Patrick Bunce.

History: Life for the B-24 heavy bomber began in 1939, when the U.S. Army Air Corps initiated a request for a new bomber designed to exceed the performance of the B-17. Consolidated Aircraft responded quickly with its proposal, labeled Consolidated Model 32 and, on March 30 of 1939, was awarded the contract. One day short of nine months later, on December 29, 1939, the first flight of the XB-24 bomber prototype took place.

Slightly smaller than the B-17, the turbosupercharger-equipped B-24 flew farther with a bigger bomb load than the much more publicized Boeing aircraft. Of seven service-test YB-24s, six were sent to the Royal Air Force (RAF) under the export designation LB-30A. Because they lacked turbosuperchargers and self-sealing fuel tanks, the RAF found them unsuitable for combat duty over Europe. Instead, they were stripped of their armament and put into service as transports on the Trans-Atlantic Return Ferry Service, which had been established to send air crews to Montreal to take delivery of American aircraft consigned to the British war effort.

Flying for the Army Air Corps as the B-24, and the U.S. Navy as the PB4Y-1, the plane also saw service in the Royal Air Force where it was known simply as the Liberator. There was also a transport version known as the C-87, one of which was Winston Churchill's personal aircraft, carrying him to historic meetings at Moscow and Casablanca, among other locations.

Before the last one was retired from Air Force service in 1953, the plane was produced in variations ranging through type M. The various model numbers were often the result of minor changes, like the relocation of internal equipment, but one major revision, the conversion of the standard Navy B-24 (PB4Y-1) to the PB4Y-2 Privateer, involved a significant rework that exchanged the familiar twin tail for a single tall tail fin and rudder combination. It also had a stretched forward fuselage that placed the pilot's compartment well in front of the un-turbocharged Pratt & Whitney R1830-94 Twin Wasp engines.

Among the features that distinguished the B-24 from the B-17 were its tricycle landing gear (the first installed in a heavy operational aircraft), the mid-mounted, high-lift Davis wing that achieved 20 percent less drag than conventional airfoils of the time, twin tail fins, oval-shaped engine cowlings necessitated by the mounting of turbosuperchargers, unique roll-up bomb bay doors that reduced drag considerably when open, and a fully retractable ventral machine gun turret. The B-24 was also the first to employ Hamilton hydromatic quick-feathering three-blade propellers.

While designed as a heavy bomber, the B-24 experienced more than 100 modifications and conversions for such assignments as photography, mine laying, and cargo hauling (including a C-109 fuel tanker version that flew "the Hump" to refuel B-29s operating out of forward bases in China). More than 18,000 B-24s were built during WWII, more than any other American aircraft. Given its abilities and "convert-abilities," the numbers make perfect sense. However, a postwar attempt to combine portions of the B-24 and PB4Y-2 with a new fuselage to create the Convair Model 39 airliner was not a commercial success, with only one prototype being built.

Of the many thousands of B-24s and derivatives built, only three remain airworthy, all in the United States.  [History by Kevin Murphy]

Nicknames: Lib; Ford's Folly; Flying Boxcar; Liberator Express (C-87 variant); C-One-Oh-Boom (C-109 fuel-carrying variant); Lamp Lighter (PB4Y-2s dropping parachute flares in Korea).

Specifications (B-24H/J):
        Engines: Four 1,200-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-65 Twin Wasp turbocharged radial piston engines.
        Weight: Empty 36,500 lbs., Max Overload Takeoff 71,200 lbs.
        Wing Span: 110ft. 0in.
        Length: 67ft. 2in.
        Height: 18ft. 0in.
        Performance:
            Maximum Speed at 25,000 ft: 290 mph
            Cruising Speed: 215 mph
            Ceiling: 28,000 ft.
            Range: 2,100 miles
        Armament:
            10 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine guns in nose, upper/ventral ball turrets and tail turret, and lateral fuselage positions.
            12,800 lb. maximum bomb load.

Number Built: 18,000+

Number Still Airworthy: Three (Two B-24Js and one LB-30)

Links:
B-24 Aviation Archaeology in Australasia and the Pacific
B-24 Best Web
Collings Foundation B-24
Commemorative Air Force B-24 ("Diamond Lil")
India's Reclaimed B-24 Bombers
"Lady Be Good"
RAAF B-24 Restoration in Victoria, Australia

 

B-24 Liberator: Rugged But Right
(Walter J. Boyne Military Aircraft Series)

By Frederick A. Johnsen
Hardcover, 144 Pages
Published 1999 by McGraw-Hill

This rare assemblage of wartime records, memories, photos, personal and military histories, and in-depth technical insight brings the B-24 back to life. Written by Air Force historian and world-leading B-24 expert Frederick A. Johnsen, and based in part on his vast personal collection of B-24 lore and memorabilia, this book covers the aircraft's design and construction, its full combat history, and recounts airmen's unique memories and personal snapshots of combat in the skies and on the ground.

Price: $25.87

 


 
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