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Dr Larry A Brechner    

 

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  Photograph   Old Illustrated Postcard Style  
     
  B-17 Flying Fortress
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress #96

 
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress #96 (HDR)
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress #96 (HDR)
 
 


This is a B-17G Flying Fortress called “Shoo Shoo Baby” by its crew flew 24 missions until May 1945 when it made an emergency landing in neutral Sweden. It was restored to flying condition and arrived at the museum in 1988.

 

 
  P-40 Flying Tigers #77
Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk Flying Tigers #77

 
P-40 Flying Tigers #77 (HDR)
Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk Flying Tigers #77 (HDR)
 
 


This is a P-40E Warhawk that was a export version for the RAF in England known as Kittyhawk. It is painted to represent the aircraft flown by by Col. Bruce Holloway who served in the Flying Tigers and later in the successor Army Air Corps in the China theater of war.


 

 
  B-29 Superfortress
Boeing B-29 Superfortress #110c

 
B-29 Superfortress #110c HDR
Boeing B-29 Superfortress #110c (HDR)
 
 


The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was introduced in WW II (1944) as an eventual replacement for the B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers. Its 3700 mile (5955km) combat range carrying 20,000 lbs (9070kg) of bombs was used primarily in the Pacific theater where its long range made it effective in the island hopping campaign. B-29s served into the post war and into the Korean War era but eventually were replaced by jet-powered bombers.

This B-29 “Bockscar” was one of 36 specially modified “Silverplate” B-29s with all the armor stripped away and only the 20mm tail cannon remaining for defense specifically to deliver atomic bombs. Its sister ship, the “Enola Gay,” dropped the Little Boy atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and “Bockscar” delivered the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki three days later. It arrived at the museum in 1961.

 

 
  WB-50D Superfortress #167c
Boeing WB-50D Superfortress #167c

 
WB-50D Superfortress #167c HDR
Boeing WB-50D Superfortress #167c (HDR)
 
 


At first glance, this aircraft appears to be a Boeing B-29 Superfortress in a 1960 style Air Force paint scheme. It is however the successor post-war upgrade to the B-29 designated as a B-50, with four 3,500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360s engines and other upgrades still essentially on the B-29 airframe, serving as a medium bomber from 1948-1954. Replaced in its strategic bombing role by the jet-powered B-47, they subsequently served in various roles. With the older B-29s being used weather reconnaissance aircraft (WB-29), 36 of these aircraft were converted to replace them as WB-50D in that role until the mid-1960s when they were retired. This particular WB-50D was the last of its kind to be retired and arrived in 1968 at the museum.


 

 
  ME-163 Komet #105c
Messerschmitt ME-163 Komet #105c

 
ME-163 Komet #105c HDR
Messerschmitt ME-163 Komet #105c (HDR)
 
 


The Messerschmitt ME-163 was Germany’s rocket fighter/interceptor plane and actually the only operational rocket powered fighter ever.  The ME-163B went operational in mid 1944 armed with two 30mm canons and a powered flight time of only seven minutes.  Positioned to intercept allied bombers, in its short combat life it was only responsible for nine victories with a loss of 14 aircraft. 

The ME-163B arrived at the museum in 1999.   It was restored by the Canadian National Aviation Museum and during that process they discovered what appeared to have been sabotage apparently done by one of the French forced labors that would have eventually caused a fuel tank to rupture and the wing to fail in flight.

 
 
  RB-47H #188
Boeing RB-47H Stratojet #188

 
RB-47H Stratojet #188 HDR
Boeing RB-47H Stratojet #188 (HDR)
 
 


The Boeing B-47 Stratojet was the first operational swept wing, jet-powered medium bomber designed to deliver atomic bombs deep into the Soviet Union from forward bases in Europe. It had a three man crew with tandem seated pilot and co-pilot, and a navigator below in the nose section. It was in service with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) from 1951 until 1969, and never engaged in combat. It replaced the aging B-29s and B-50s with the long range missions covered by the six engine push-propeller, four jet-engine B-36 and later the eight jet-engine B-52.

The aircraft on display is a RB-47H, which did photo/radar aerial reconnaissance during the cold war. Many times it would overfly parts of Soviet territory as part of its mission. The navigator in the “RB” series was in charge of these recon operations with the black nose section containing a powerful radar and other photographic plus sensors on the aircraft. The RB-47H remained in service until the late 1960s, with some of the electronic recon series (ERB) still operational until 1977. This particular aircraft was retired in 1966 and delivered to the museum in 1998.

 

 
  B-24D #88c
Consolidated B-24D Liberator #88c

 
B-24D Liberator #88c HDR
Consolidated B-24D Liberator #88c (HDR)
 
 


The B-24D Liberator was for its time a long range heavy bomber that served in all theaters of WW II. It had a greater range and larger bomb load than the other heavy bomber of this period, the B-17 making it suitable for long over water operations.

This B-24D “Strawberry Bitch” was based in North Africa with the 512th Bomb Squadron and was active fro 1943-44, and arrived at the museum in 1959.

 

 
  B-36J #151
Convair B-36J Peacemaker #151c

 
B-36J #151c HDR
Convair B-36J Peacemaker #151c (HDR)
 
 


The Convair (Consolidated) B-36J Peacemaker started its development during WW II when it was believed that an intercontinental bomber may be necessary if Great Britain fell to Germany to conduct the war from North America. It was on the slow development track when that requirement was not immediately necessary. It became operational in 1948 as a long-range bomber capable of delivering an atomic bomb from North American bases. The initial models had six Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines mounted as so the propellers were on the trailing edge of the wing. Later models added two GE J47 twin jet engine pods used for additional takeoff thrust or faster speeds over targets. The B-36 series remained in service until 1959 when they were replaced by the all jet powered B-52. The museum’s B-36J made the last flight ever of this aircraft when it arrived in April of 1959.

 

 
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