|Armament:||12 .50-caliber machine guns, 1 20 mm cannon, 20,000-lb bomb load|
|Empty Weight:||70,000 lbs.|
|Gross Weight:||105,000 normal; 124,000 maximum|
|Cruise Speed:||220 mph|
|Maximum Speed:||365 mph|
|Powerplant:||4 X Wright R-3350-23 Cyclone|
The B-29 was a four-engined propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing for long distance and high altitude operation for use by the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II. It was first flown in September, 1942 and was the most advanced bomber of its era. Features included a pressurized cabin, an electronic fire-control system and remote controlled machine gun turrets. A total of 3,970 planes were built by Boeing in Wichita, Kansas and Renton, Washington, Bell Aircraft in Georgia, and the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Nebraska with production ending in 1946.
The “Superfortress” was primarily used in the Pacific War, culminating in its use in the dropping of the world's first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 which led to the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II.
After the war, B-29's were used for in-flight refueling, anti-submarine patrol, weather reconnaissance, and search and rescue. The planes and crews were again called into service in the Korea Conflict between 1950 and 1953 and battled the new foes of jet fighters and electronic weapons. The final B-29 left service in September, 1960. There are now only two flying B-29 examples remaining: “Fifi,” which is operated by the Commemorative Air Force based in Addison, Texas, and “Doc,” restored and operated by Doc's Friends, a non-profit based in Wichita, Kansas.
Our B-29 is the centerpiece of the Museum's 58th Bomb Wing Memorial exhibit. The 58th Bombardment Wing merits an elite place in American history having played a key role in the defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II. Starting in Kansas where they tested and trained to fly the B-29, a new and unproven aircraft, to the final bombing mission against Japan, they proved their courage and dedication in the most difficult of conditions -- conquering the searing heat of India, “flying the hump” over the perilous Himalayas, operating from forward bases in China, and finally on the Pacific island of Tinian -- to defeat a fierce and determined enemy.
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