The B-29 Superfortress was the first pressurized bomber to enter service. It also was the heavier aircraft to be built during the Second World War. The prototype of this aircraft flew for the first time on September 21, 1942, and the plane entered service in 1943. Originally designed to reach Germany from the United States, the B-29 became combat ready only when the war in Europe was ending.
Therefore, during WW2, the B-29 was only used against Japan, with many missions targeting Tokyo. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 aircraft commanded by colonel Paul Tibbetts, dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Pressurized, faster than the japanese interceptors and capable of cruising at high altitudes, the B-29 was truly a revolutionary airplane.
Before the end of the war, about 4 000 B-29s were built. This military aircraft also played a role during the Korean War, and was used in the nineteen-fifties to bring experimental airplanes to high altitude, having a service ceiling in excess of 40,000 feet.
|Type:||High-Altitude Heavy Bomber|
|Crew:||10 to 14|
|Powerplant:||Four Wright R-3350-23 Duplex Cyclone|
|Max speed:||357 mph (575 km/h)|
|Ceiling:||36,000 ft. (10,973 m)|
|Range:||3,250 miles (5230 km) (With 10,000 lb. bombload):|
|Weight (empty):||74,500 lb. (33,795 kg.)|
|Weight (loaded):||135,000 lb. (61,240 kg.)|
|Wingspan:||141 ft. 3 in. (43.05m)|
|Length:||99 ft. (30.2m)|
|Height:||27 ft. 9 in. (8.46m)|
|Armament:||Four GE Twin 0.50 in. in turrets above and below. Sighted from nose or three waist sighting stations. Bell tail turret with one 20mm cannon and two 0.50 machine guns.
Internal load of 20,000 lb. (9072 kg.)