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Boeing B-50 Superfortress6. june 2011 16:06
by Joe G.
Boeing B-50 Superfortress is a strategic bomber that was designed from the B-29 after World War II and was powered by 4 Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35. Even though the B-50 looks almost identical to the B-29, it only used about 25 percent of the B-29 components.
The approval to develop a bomber that could travel faster and farther then the B-29 was given in 1944, while World War II was still ongoing. From that, the B-29D was designed and after the war, the government canceled thousands of orders for the B-29s, but the B-29D survived and became the B-50. Only 5 B-50s still exists today.
Name: B-50 Superfortress
First flight: 25th June, 1947
Entered service: June, 1948
Number built: 370
Currently Airworthy: 0
Unit Cost: $1,145,000
The main changes between the B-29 and the B-50 were improved engines, larger vertical tail, improved fire control, better flight controls, and improved landing gear and wing structures.
The B-50 was equipped with 4 3,500 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp radial engines which replaced the unreliable Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone that powered the B-29s.
Crew: 8 with full crew
Length: 30.2 meters (99 ft)
Height: 10.0 meters (32 ft 8 in)
Wingspan: 43.1 meters (141 ft 3 in)
Wing area: 160 square meters (1720 square ft)
Type: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35
Horsepower: 3,500 hp (2,600 kW)
Max take-off weight: 78,470 kg (173,000 lb)
Empty weight: 38,506 kg (84,714 lb)
Max speed: 343 knots (635 km/h, 394 mph)
Cruise speed: 212 knots (393 km/h, 244 mph)
Max range: 6,739 nmi (12,478 km, 7,750 mi)
Ceiling: 11,250 meters (36,900 feet)
Rate of climb: 11.2 m/s (2,200 ft/min)
Photo by Gary Chambers
The heavy bomber had a crew of 8 which included pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, two side gunners, top gunner and tail gunner, radio operator.
The B-50 had 13 .50 inches machine guns and could carry 28,000 pounds (12,7 tons) of bombs both internally and externally.
During the 6 years of production, 370 B-50s were produced and the last aircraft remained in services as a hurricane hunter until 1965. The most famous of them is the Lucky Lady II which was the first aircraft to fly nonstop around the world assisted only by a refueling plane.
The B-50 was replaced by the jet powered B-47 Stratojet in the 1950s but few survived as tankers and hurricane hunters. There are no B-50 flying today, although, few are in good condition on museums.
Photo by Robert Domandl
All photos are published with permission from authors
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