Saturday, April 10, 2010

America's best bombers

The United States Air Force as some amazing aircraft, but everybody is fixated with the jet fighters:

Me, I like bombers, and I've booked a B-17 ride at the Oskosh Air Show this year!

In the history of 20th century aviation there were a few bombers that stood out!

- B-17 – The bomber that won WWII
- B-36 – An architectural masterpiece, America’s largest bomber
- B-52 – We are still using B-52’s a half century after they were first built!

Most people don’t know this, but with proper maintenance, a bomber will fly forever (barring metal fatigue), and that's why the B-52 will be in-service until 2052, over 100 years of dropping bombs on people!

The B-17

This bomber was nicknamed the “flying Fortress”, and it truly was an amazing bomber.

The B-17 was built like a brick shitthouse, and a B-17 could take an incredible pounding and bring back the crew safely. Here are some great shots of damaged B-17’s:

The B-17 is also stylist, one of the most beautiful aircraft ever created. Sadly, most of them were destroyed on December 24th, 1945 in an Arizona scrap yard.

There are only a about a dozen B-17 left in flying condition. I'm a licensed pilot, and I’m tracking each B17 and saving my pennies in case I ever get enough money to buy one!

This is that what a B-17 might have looked like if Bert Ruttan has designed her!

If Bert Ruttan had designed the B-17

The B-36

There was a natural evolution from the B17 to the XB-19, the B29 to the B36, a culmination of propeller-driven bombers, and the largest bomber on the world:

The B-36 was so large that you could crawl inside the wings while she was flying!
Here is a B-36 nest to a B-29, an amazing size difference:

In it's day, the B-16 was the world's largest bomber

The B-52

Without question, the B52 is the workhorse bomber of the 20th century, a bomber of magnificent proportions that was a joy to see!

The B52 - Still in use, more than a half century after it's introduction

I grew-up near Kirtland ABF, and it was breathtaking to watch the B-52’s do a formation takeoff, truly awesome!