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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

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

   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

   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

   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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Boeing B-29 Superfortress

(Variants/Other Names:  See History below)

"Fifi," the world's only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress, in her element.
Photo by Buck Wyndham

History: The B-29's predecessors, the XB-15 and the B-17 "Flying Fortress" were, in a sense, the failed products of United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) mid-1930's "Project A," which was intended to give the U.S. a heavy bomber capable of flying 5,000 miles. Ironically, the B-29's origins lay in both the strengths and weaknesses of those predecessors, especially the B-17, which demonstrated impressive strength, firepower, speed, bomb load, range and altitude capability -- all of which were still inadequate for that original 1930's design request. Based on Charles Lindbergh's assessment of the potency of the Luftwaffe, American strategists in 1939 acknowledged that the United States would have to fight Nazi Germany from American soil should Germany invade England, which then seemed highly probable. As a consequence, the USAAC initiated a request for proposals pertaining to a new very-heavy, very-long-range bomber to replace the B-17. Four prospective manufacturers, Boeing, Consolidated-Vultee, Douglas and Lockheed were given individual experimental aircraft numbers (XB-29, XB-30, XB-31 and XB-32). Of the four, only Boeing (XB-29) and Consolidated (XB-32) developed flying prototypes, and Boeing emerged the clear winner of the pair, even though its entry flew after the first XB-32 had flown.

From the beginning, the B-29 was a fountain of firsts, anticipating the methodologies and successes of the later NASA Lunar and Space Shuttle programs. Before the first prototype had been constructed, manufacturing facilities had already been established, a risky process that had not been the norm in the aircraft industry. And that bomber, the heaviest production aircraft built up to that time, would be the first to have pressurized crew compartments, centralized and computerized fire control, the capacity to carry up to a 20,000 pound bomb load, or the ability to fly 5,830 miles, with a top airspeed of 365 miles per hour. Paradoxically, although the B-29 was designed to be a high-altitude weapons platform, its greatest WW II successes were accomplished at low-altitude, in the fire-bombing of Japan. Low-flying B-29's laid waste to most militarily important cities in Japan except Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Niigata and Kokura, which had been declared -- for reasons unclear to the active bomb groups -- off-limits to their bombing.

Eventually, the B-29 became the first combat aircraft to carry and drop atomic bombs, first on Hiroshima (by "Enola Gay" commanded by Capt. Robert Lewis and Col. Paul Tibbetts), then Nagasaki (by "Bockscar," commanded by Maj. Charles Sweeny), becoming the first and only aircraft to effectively end a world war. B-29's had one more war in their future before the type was finally retired from combat service in 1960 by a jet-propelled Air Force. During the Korean War, they flew more than 20,000 sorties in which they dropped nearly 200,000 tons of bombs on North Korean targets.

Major variants included: B-29A (Increased-span versions built by Boeing); B-29B (Bell-built version with automatic, radar-guided tail guns); RB-29 (Photo-reconnaissance variant); KB-29M / KB-29P (Inflight refueling tankers);  and P2B-1S / P2B-2S (US navy anti-submarine testbeds).

Of the 3,970 B-29's built, one aircraft still flies as a living memorial and educational component of the Commemorative Air Force, flying in its illustrious "Ghost Squadron" of World War II aircraft.

Nicknames: Washington (RAF name for B-29s loaned to the UK between 1950-1958); Bull (NATO code name for Russian TU-4, a near-exact copy of the B-29).

        Engines: Four 2,200-hp Wright R-3350-23-23A/-41 Cyclone 18 turbocharged radial piston engines.
        Weight: Empty 70,140 lbs., Max Takeoff 124,000 lbs.
        Wing Span: 141ft. 3in.
        Length: 99ft. 0in.
        Height: 29ft. 7in.
            Maximum Speed: 358 mph
            Cruising Speed: 230 mph
            Ceiling: 31,850 ft.
            Range: 3,250 miles
            Two 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine guns in each of remote-controlled turrets, plus three 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine guns, or two 12.7-mm guns and one 20-mm cannon in the tail turret.

Number Built: 3,970

Number Still Airworthy:  One

[ B-29 Pilot Report by John Deakin ]

B-29.org -- A collection of miscellanea about the B-29 and its crews.
B-29 "Doc" Restoration | "Saved From a Desert Death" article
B29KeeBird.net -- A site commemorating the last flight of the B-29 called "KeeBird."
B-29s Over Korea -- A site commemorating the B-29 in Korea and the men who flew and maintained them. 
Commemorative Air Force B-29 ("Fifi") -- The only airworthy B-29.
The "Enola Gay" -- The history of the most famous B-29 of all.
The "Lady in the Lake" (KB-29 in a lake at Eielson AFB, Alaska)
March AFB B-29A "Mission Inn"
"Requiem for an Aircraft, Farewell to a Pilot"

B-29 Superfortress books from Amazon.com:

[ Click for more books and videos about the B-29! ]




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