Sunday, March 16, 2014

Commemorative Air Force B-29 Superfortress Takeoff from DuPage Airport En Route Oskosh

Commemorative Air Force B-29 Superfortress on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive.

The B-29 was the primary aircraft in the American firebombing campaign against the Empire of Japan in the final months of World War II, and carried out the atomic bombings that destroyed Hiroshima (Enola gay dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Bockscar dropped nuclear weapon “Fat Man on August 9, 1945).

The Enola Gay was named for Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, who selected the aircraft while it was still on the assembly line. On August 6, 1945, during the final stages of World War II, Enola Gay became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb.

Bockscar was built at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant at Bellevue, Nebraska, at what is now Offutt Air Force Base, and delivered to the United States Army Air Forces on 19 March 1945. Bockscar was assigned to the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah in April. The aircraft was one of 15 Silverplate B-29s used by the 509th,

The Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 ‘Fifi’ is the last-remaining flying B-29. Today’s pilots flying the aircraft describe flight after takeoff as being an urgent struggle for airspeed (generally, flight after takeoff should consist of striving for altitude). The aircraft’s four radial engines need airflow to keep them cool, and failure to get up to speed as soon as possible could result in an engine failure, overheating and risk of fire. One useful technique was to check the magnetos while already rolling rather than from a “braked” start.
Magnetos (rotating magnets) adapted to produce pulses of high voltage are used in the ignition systems of some gasoline-powered internal combustion engines to provide power to the spark plugs. A magneto ignition system is considered more reliable than a battery-coil system.
At startup, ground mechanics also manually turn the propellers so that oil doesn’t remain pooled at the bottom of the radial engine. Pooled oil could burn out the engines.
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