DescriptionThe Boeing B-29 Superfortress is an American four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War.
Named in allusion to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing but also excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing and in dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and became the only aircraft that has ever used nuclear weapons in combat.
One of the largest aircraft of World War II, the B-29 had state-of-the-art technology, including a pressurized cabin, dual-wheeled, tricycle landing gear, and an analog computer-controlled fire-control system that allowed one gunner and a fire-control officer to direct four remote machine gun turrets. The $3 billion cost of design and production (equivalent to $43 billion today), far exceeding the $1.9 billion cost of the Manhattan Project, made the B-29 program the most expensive of the war.
The B-29's advanced design allowed it to remain in service in various roles throughout the 1950s. The type was retired in the early 1960s after 3,970 of them had been built.
A few were used as flying television transmitters by the Stratovision company. The Royal Air Force flew the B-29 as the Washington until 1954. Twenty B-29s remain as static displays but only two, FIFI and Doc, still fly.
For more information on the development and design, operational history and variants of the B-29, click here.
Flight Engineers Station
- Crew: 11 (Pilot, Co-pilot, Bombardier, Flight Engineer, Navigator, Radio Operator, Radar Observer, Right Gunner, Left Gunner, Central Fire Control, Tail Gunner)
- 99 ft 0 in (30.18 m)
- 141 ft 3 in (43.05 m)
- 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
- Wing Area:
- 1,736 sq ft (161.3 sq m)
- Wing Loading:
- 69.12 lb/sq ft (337.5 kg/sq m)
- Empty Weight:
- 74,500 lb (33,793 kg)
- 133,500 lb (60,555 kg) 135,000 lb (61,000 kg) combat overload
- 4 × Wright R-3350-23 Duplex-Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled turbosupercharged radial piston engines, 2,200 hp (1,600 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 357 mph (575 km/h, 310 kn)
- Cruise Speed:
- 220 mph (350 km/h, 190 kn)
- Stall Speed:
- 105 mph (169 km/h, 91 kn)
- 3,250 mi (5,230 km, 2,820 nmi) Ferry range: 5,600 mi (9,000 km, 4,900 nmi)
- Rate of Climb:
- 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)
- Service Ceiling:
- 31,850 ft (9,710 m)