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    B29

    What's everyones opinion on the B29 Bombers? Think those planes could be modified out to have another chance at serving in a future war?
    Alex Kulak
    PMDG Studier and flyer
    Ramp Agent

    #2
    Water bomber maybe?
    Victor Green

    Comment


      #3
      The problem with the B-29 was its engines. The early R3350s were fire hazards on the ground and at low level, even in the best conditions. Once they got into the upper altitudes where the air was cold, they were fine. While the idea of putting the exhaust for the front row of cylinders in front of them was a good idea to keep the engines warm at altitude, it didn't work at any other time. They also really pushed the limits of metallurgy of the time, leading to very low time between failures for the engines. For the USAF, this wasn't a problem. For civilian service and for any modern service, it is.

      The only reason the CAF was able to fly "FiFi" for as long as they did prior to the re-engine project was because they literally had a shed load of engines. They received something like 70 engines when the airplane was first flown out of China Lake. This meant they could simply swap the engines whenever one failed and not have to bear the cost of overhauling engines for many years. However, that supply started to dry up in the early 2000's which is what led Gary Austin (the B-29's Crew Chief at the time) and the rest of the B-29/B-24 Squadron leadership to really push for the project that resulted in the new hybrid engines that are on both "FiFi" and "Doc" today.

      Yes, you could spend millions to re-engineer the airplane to use more modern turboprops (heck, the Russians did that with the Tu-2), but there are other problems with the way the plane was built that would make it even more unlikely to be useful today, even as a water bomber. Chief among those is that plane was designed for high altitude cruise with very little maneuvering. It's not really known as a very responsive aircraft. As such, it would be totally unsuitable in that environment where it needs to be able to make quick responses in roll and pitch during a drop run.

      Comment


        #4
        Wasn't the Stratocrusier an adaption of the B29?
        Victor Green

        Comment


          #5
          I'm not 100% sure if it was or not. I'm not a huge buff at military bombers or aircraft at all but I was watching a documentary on them and was like wonder what the guys on the forums would think about a rebooted version and how it would perform in war today with the technological advancements
          Alex Kulak
          PMDG Studier and flyer
          Ramp Agent

          Comment


            #6
            The B-36 was also a development of the B-29 but a LOT bigger.
            Last edited by Jude Bradley; 13Feb2020, 15:24.
            Jude Bradley
            System specs: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, i9-9988KF Gigabyte Z390, RTX-2070, 32GB RAM Prepar3D V4 X-Plane 11

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Lanica View Post
              Wasn't the Stratocrusier an adaption of the B29?
              Yes and no. It was a descendent more than an adaptation. The B-29 was developed into the B-50 with R4360 engines, slightly longer fuselage, and a bigger wing. The C-97 and B-377 were then developed from that by adding a new fuselage, and strengthening the center wing section. The thing is that Bombers are designed to land at pretty much empty, so there are parts of the structure that can be lightened to allow carry of more payload without compromising safety on landing. With the C-97 and B-377 you need to be able to land at much higher weights because you'll be landing with cargo/passengers. So there were fairly extensive changes to the structure of the base airplane and landing gear over the B-50 even so that there are almost no parts in common with it, much less the B-50.

              Now, the C-97, with its heavier structure was used by Hawkins & Powers and I think 1 or 2 other operators during the 1960s and 1970s as Fire Bombers, however they were limited to fairly flat terrain work because of their limited maneuverability. The cost of maintaining the R4360s I think was what grounded them more than anything else.

              Originally posted by Jude Bradley View Post
              The B-36 was also a development of the B-29 but a LOT bigger.
              Incorrect. The B-36 was developed by Consolidated (after 1942 Consolidated Vultee Aviation, aka. "CONVAIR") nearly in parallel with the B-29. The difference was that the B-29 (and even Consolidated's "insurance policy" for the B-29 the B-32 Dominator) had much higher priority in production and material resources than the B-36, so its development was stretched out. The result was that the XB-36 wasn't rolled out until 1945 and didn't enter service until 1948. If anything, the B-36 is more a "descendent" of the B-24 than anything else, but that's a pretty loose connection.

              Comment


              • DDowns
                DDowns commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice, please add your two cents anytime. Much appreciated. My only affiliation with CAF was back in the 80's at Offutt AFB, my wife at the time was the Chief of ATC (CATCO) and she coordinated an air show with CAF to replace the Thunderbirds whom were grounded that year due to an accident. She became the first female CAF officer and I like to kid that it only cost me about the cost of a B29 aileron.

              • skyymann
                skyymann commented
                Editing a comment
                I was 2nd ACCS on the Glass in the 80s. Small world...

                Scott

              #8
              Isn't it amazing that during the war those high performance planes were often captained by kids in their early twenties.
              Victor Green

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by Lanica View Post
                Isn't it amazing that during the war those high performance planes were often captained by kids in their early twenties.
                It's also amazing how extremely vulnerable they were to enemy fighters. Think there was only 1 or 2 B29s that was recorded to bring down 1 MIG fighter craft
                Alex Kulak
                PMDG Studier and flyer
                Ramp Agent

                Comment


                  #10
                  It would have been like trying to shoot a flee with a slingshot.
                  Danny Z.Cebis

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post

                    It's also amazing how extremely vulnerable they were to enemy fighters. Think there was only 1 or 2 B29s that was recorded to bring down 1 MIG fighter craft
                    To be fair, she didn't enter the Asia theater of operations until late in the war and then only a few campaigns in China. She did perform as expected, aside from the engine fires, and did shoot down at least one enemy over China during the Korean operations.

                    The defensive anti aircraft guns were the first to be radar controlled and could be lethal if the gunner was well trained.
                    Dan Downs KCRP

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Originally posted by DDowns View Post

                      To be fair, she didn't enter the Asia theater of operations until late in the war and then only a few campaigns in China. She did perform as expected, aside from the engine fires, and did shoot down at least one enemy over China during the Korean operations.

                      The defensive anti aircraft guns were the first to be radar controlled and could be lethal if the gunner was well trained.
                      That's why I wondered if they could honestly really modify one out to be a top military aircraft today
                      Alex Kulak
                      PMDG Studier and flyer
                      Ramp Agent

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post

                        That's why I wondered if they could honestly really modify one out to be a top military aircraft today
                        No one in the Pentagon was to be the PM for a low dollar project. The more money they spend the bigger their promotions, they'd never make Lt Gen running a cost effective small budget program. That' is why they hate the A-10 Warthog. It was cheap and it is the most effective tank killer in the world. They want to kill it and replace it with a billion dollar project.
                        Dan Downs KCRP

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by DDowns View Post

                          No one in the Pentagon was to be the PM for a low dollar project. The more money they spend the bigger their promotions, they'd never make Lt Gen running a cost effective small budget program. That' is why they hate the A-10 Warthog. It was cheap and it is the most effective tank killer in the world. They want to kill it and replace it with a billion dollar project.
                          Your tax dollars at work.
                          Victor Green

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post

                            It's also amazing how extremely vulnerable they were to enemy fighters. Think there was only 1 or 2 B29s that was recorded to bring down 1 MIG fighter craft
                            The B-29 actually was pretty good against enemy fighters both in tests and in action and generally regarded as having the only truly effective defensive suite for a heavy aircraft during WWII. However, many operations (as Dan alluded to) saw the B-29's defensive armament removed because it was simply superfluous so the numbers seem much lower when gauged in the full view of operations. There were few or no enemy fighters for them to defend against. In Korea, a modification was introduced which added a radar-assisted 20mm cannon into the tail position and this helped tremendously (and what was used in the MiG kills). The B-50 (which supplanted the B-29s) had the same 20mm cannon in the tail as well, but there were no engagements that I'm aware of as the B-50s that saw service in Korea were RB-50 reconnaissance aircraft which generally avoided engagement.

                            Comment


                              #16
                              Originally posted by CAPFlyer View Post

                              The B-29 actually was pretty good against enemy fighters both in tests and in action and generally regarded as having the only truly effective defensive suite for a heavy aircraft during WWII. However, many operations (as Dan alluded to) saw the B-29's defensive armament removed because it was simply superfluous so the numbers seem much lower when gauged in the full view of operations. There were few or no enemy fighters for them to defend against. In Korea, a modification was introduced which added a radar-assisted 20mm cannon into the tail position and this helped tremendously (and what was used in the MiG kills). The B-50 (which supplanted the B-29s) had the same 20mm cannon in the tail as well, but there were no engagements that I'm aware of as the B-50s that saw service in Korea were RB-50 reconnaissance aircraft which generally avoided engagement.
                              See why did the RB-50 avoid engagement?
                              Alex Kulak
                              PMDG Studier and flyer
                              Ramp Agent

                              Comment


                                #17
                                Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post

                                See why did the RB-50 avoid engagement?
                                Mission profile. The job of a reconnaissance aircraft is to bring the pictures back - which back then meant delivering exposed film. Can't do that if you're shot down, and even short of that any damage puts the crew and therefore the mission at risk. There've been armed recon aircraft - the Spitfire PR Mk I Type G for low-level work, and later the F-6 Mustang, both of which had full armament - but it was only to be used as a last resort, so the pilot could fight his way out of a tight corner. High-level recon aircraft were often unarmed, to save weight and provide space for cameras. The best practice was always to stay clear of trouble.
                                Alan Ampolsk
                                __________________________________________

                                "Ah, Paula, they are firing at me!" -- Saint-Exupery

                                Comment


                                  #18
                                  Originally posted by Alan_A View Post

                                  Mission profile. The job of a reconnaissance aircraft is to bring the pictures back - which back then meant delivering exposed film. Can't do that if you're shot down, and even short of that any damage puts the crew and therefore the mission at risk. There've been armed recon aircraft - the Spitfire PR Mk I Type G for low-level work, and later the F-6 Mustang, both of which had full armament - but it was only to be used as a last resort, so the pilot could fight his way out of a tight corner. High-level recon aircraft were often unarmed, to save weight and provide space for cameras. The best practice was always to stay clear of trouble.
                                  Did those aircraft happen to have back up in case of enemy engagement?
                                  Alex Kulak
                                  PMDG Studier and flyer
                                  Ramp Agent

                                  Comment


                                    #19
                                    Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post

                                    Did those aircraft happen to have back up in case of enemy engagement?
                                    Only if they carried some kind of armament. There was no escort - they generally flew alone. As a rule, bomber types converted to recon retained some armament, thought it was often reduced. Among the RB-50s, there were some variants that had full armament, and others that carried only tail guns. Fighter types were often unarmed and relied on speed and altitude for safety, along with other forms of concealment (Spitfire recon pilots stayed glued to the rear view mirror to make sure they weren't leaving contrails). The exceptions among the fighters were the early-war Spitfire variants I mentioned that were used for low-level photography, where enemy fighters couldn't be avoided. Later-war fighters used for recon were more likely to have some armament - some of the F-5s (recon P-38s) and most of the F-6s (recon P-51s) had some, or sometimes full armament. Weight and range were less critical in the later-war fighters, so carrying guns didn't involve a performance penalty. But again, the guns were there for last-resort defense and escape.

                                    My favorite aviation book of all time (actually one of my favorite books of all time), Saint-Expuery's Flight to Arras, describes both high and low-level recon during the 1940 invasion of France. The aircraft he flew was a Bloch 174, a three-man airplane that carried a gunner. Pretty hair-raising stuff. Side note - the book is the source of my signature quote. Saint-Ex disappeared in '44 on a recon mission in an F-5.

                                    Recon is a pretty interesting subject - at least to me. For those that don't feel that way, apologies for the digression....
                                    Alan Ampolsk
                                    __________________________________________

                                    "Ah, Paula, they are firing at me!" -- Saint-Exupery

                                    Comment


                                      #20
                                      I'll have to read that book. I'm way more into nuclear warfare and nuclear reactors and engineering that military aircraft so when I came around to the B29 which obviously pulled the japan attacks during WW2. These questions popped up in my head, it's nice to have a community to turn to that know facts and stories about these planes and the history and futures of them leading up to present day
                                      Alex Kulak
                                      PMDG Studier and flyer
                                      Ramp Agent

                                      Comment


                                      • Alan_A
                                        Alan_A commented
                                        Editing a comment
                                        Well, I'm glad to be able to help in a small way, since I've spent some time on the period. I defer to Chris (CAPFlyer), though, since he's the real expert here - if he disagrees about anything I've said, he's right and I'm wrong. Have to say also that while I know something about 30s, 40s and 50s aviation, and even early 60s, I'm pretty new to modern airliner ops. So I'm a net consumer of information here and I'm grateful to you and everybody else that helps bring me up to speed.

                                      #21
                                      b29.jpg
                                      Bode Bridges
                                      I Earned my Spurs in Vietnam

                                      Comment


                                        #22
                                        Heres a question for you all. Were they easy to fly or a pain in the ass
                                        Alex Kulak
                                        PMDG Studier and flyer
                                        Ramp Agent

                                        Comment


                                          #23
                                          Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post
                                          Heres a question for you all. Were they easy to fly or a pain in the ass
                                          Easy? Subjective. The Pacific is big. The flights were long long long. Difficult would be the B-24 and a Liberator pilot stood out for the disproportionate size of his left bicep ("The Wild Blue" Ambrose story about McGovern, a WWII hero.)
                                          Dan Downs KCRP

                                          Comment


                                          • Alan_A
                                            Alan_A commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            I remember visiting Diamond Lil at a Joint Base Andrews open house a few years ago. I asked the pilot about those stories about the strength it took to wrestle those controls. Without saying anything, he lifted his arm up - right arm, in this case - and rolled up his sleeve. Looked just like Popeye. I'd never seen a forearm look like that. So... yes.

                                          • CAPFlyer
                                            CAPFlyer commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            Ehh Alan, I'm not an expert. I was fortunate enough to know Gary Austin for an all too short time and get to spend some time around both "FiFi" and "Diamond 'Lil" that I will cherish. The B-29 and B-377 is something I've taken some time studying not just because of "FiFi", but because of the "Angel of Deliverance" C-97 and the A2A B-377 project.

                                            I also have a lot of books....

                                          #24
                                          Originally posted by DDowns View Post

                                          Easy? Subjective. The Pacific is big. The flights were long long long. Difficult would be the B-24 and a Liberator pilot stood out for the disproportionate size of his left bicep ("The Wild Blue" Ambrose story about McGovern, a WWII hero.)
                                          I mean that's a lot of flying time for them
                                          Alex Kulak
                                          PMDG Studier and flyer
                                          Ramp Agent

                                          Comment


                                            #25
                                            Originally posted by Bluestar View Post
                                            Is that you?
                                            Victor Green

                                            Comment


                                              #26
                                              Imagine holding those beast in tight formation with overlapping wing tips, being tossed by turbulence, prop wash, flak, and fighters for hours somtime with dead or wounded crew members on board breathing through a rubber mask with your own droole freezing inside. We've all seen the pictures of bombers bought home by some kid with engines out, tail shot off, nose blown open. It's a fact the 8th AAF lost more men over Europe then the Marine Corp did the entire WWII in all theathers, not to diminish the Corps contribution. A fantastic book to read is Masters of the Sky about the European air war. I know that's a bit off the B29 subject but IMHO interseting. The European bomber campaign was a grim blood bath and in some ways misdirected.
                                              Victor Green

                                              Comment


                                                #27
                                                It's a very interesting subject to see how war was fraught and how these bombers played a major roll than just dropping two nukes one japan
                                                Alex Kulak
                                                PMDG Studier and flyer
                                                Ramp Agent

                                                Comment


                                                  #28
                                                  Originally posted by Swaluver88 View Post
                                                  It's a very interesting subject to see how war was fraught and how these bombers played a major roll than just dropping two nukes one japan
                                                  The effectiveness of bombing population centers is debatable. There is no doubt that disrupting lines of communications (rail, bridges, etc) and essential logistics (oil refineries, weapon production) are essential strategies, I have been taught by my military education that the two most important air war roles are air superiority and close air ground support. In the early days before WWII the AAF leadership met at Montgomery and formulated the concept of precision daylight bombing and pushed the idea to the bloody limit but it wasn't until fighter escorts had the range to achieve air superiority that the air war began to be effective. The 8th AF paid the price, but it was the 9th that protected the invasion.
                                                  Dan Downs KCRP

                                                  Comment


                                                    #29
                                                    Interesting debate about bombing population centers. One belief is the manly or humane belief that combat should be confined to armies. But if the killing can be stopped sooner or avoided all together by spreddingsthe suffering to all elements involved? I s that 17 or 18 year old kid who was drafted life more expendable then anyone elses? Should more soldiers be sacrificed to save enemiy non combatants. That qustion goes back to Sherman's concept of total war. This was a debate faced by the planners of the bombing campaign and discussed between American and British Bomber Command.
                                                    By the way Dan that was the ARMY Air Force.
                                                    Victor Green

                                                    Comment


                                                    • DDowns
                                                      DDowns commented
                                                      Editing a comment
                                                      Army.... LOL I know. But during my decades of service it was the numbered air force. Excellent WWII museum at Barksdale AFB home of the 8th and of course today the 9th is supporting CENTAF in Central West Asia (middle East).

                                                    #30
                                                    Originally posted by Lanica View Post
                                                    Interesting debate about bombing population centers. One belief is the manly or humane belief that combat should be confined to armies. But if the killing can be stopped sooner or avoided all together by spreddingsthe suffering to all elements involved? I s that 17 or 18 year old kid who was drafted life more expendable then anyone elses? Should more soldiers be sacrificed to save enemiy non combatants. That qustion goes back to Sherman's concept of total war. This was a debate faced by the planners of the bombing campaign and discussed between American and British Bomber Command.
                                                    By the way Dan that was the ARMY Air Force.
                                                    Honestly it doesnt make all that much sense as to say "this stops here" what the B29s carried out in japan was actually I believe the first two nuclear bombs and it opened the eyes of THE WORLD that these nukes arent M.O.A.Bs they're mass extinction machines that annihilate and can destroy anything in its radius and further out due to fall out. This of course comes back to chernobyl and their neglect from the USSR to almost destroy the entire european continent once again from nuclear fall out
                                                    Alex Kulak
                                                    PMDG Studier and flyer
                                                    Ramp Agent

                                                    Comment

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