Flotsam 'n' Jetsam

Remembering the B-29

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How the B-29 Modernized the U.S. Air Force

The bomber that ended WWII also paved the way for a more modern U.S. Air Force.



On February 18, 1943, with World War II raging in Europe and Asia, a hulking structure rolled onto the tarmac of Boeing Field, about five miles south of Seattle’s city center. Veteran Boeing test pilot Edmond T. “Eddie” Allen, joined by 10 technicians and engineers, was chosen for the test flight.

They stood aboard the XB-29, one of only two experimental prototypes of an all-new bomber designed to punish the Axis powers. It was the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world, and its existence was strictly classified. But joining so many different envelope-pushing technologies to a single airframe came with some serious risk, and it was a risk that would unfold in horror after only 20 minutes into the flight.

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