Boeing B-29 Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Mission

The B-29 was primarily designed for aerial bombardment to destroy enemy materiel and installations. It was equipped with pressurized crew compartments, along with sufficient heating and oxygen facilities, to enable the crew to undertake long-range missions.

A Boeing B-29 at the Boeing Plant No. 2, 1945
A Boeing B-29 at the Boeing Plant No. 2, 1945 (U.S. Air Force photo)

Development

The development of the B-29 began in June 1940, with the first flight of the XB-29 prototype taking place in September 1942. The first acceptance of the aircraft occurred in September 1943, and production was completed in June 1946. In total, 2,533 B-29 without suffix were produced during its manufacturing run.

Dimensions and Weights

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Dimensions
AtributeUSMetric
DIMENSIONS
Wing
  • Span
  • 141.2 ft43 m
  • Incidence
  • Dihedral
  • 4°29'23"4°29'23"
  • Sweepback(LE)
  • 7°1'26"7°1'26"
  • Wing Area
  • 1720 ft2159.8 m2
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 11.511.5
  • Wing Section
  • Boeing 117Boeing 117
  • M.A.C.
  • 154.4147.1 m
    Length99 ft30.2 m
    Height27.8 ft8.5 m
    Tread28.5 ft8.7 m
    Prop. Grd Clearance1.3 ft0.4 m
    WEIGHTS
    Loading
  • Empty (A)
  • 71,500 lbs32.432 kg
  • Basic (A)
  • 74,050 lbs33.589 kg
    Operating
  • Design
  • 120,000 lbs54.431 kg
  • Combat (*)
  • 101,250 lbs45.926 kg
  • Max Take Off (1)
  • 140,000 lbs63.503 kg
  • Max Landing (2)
  • 135,000 lbs61.235 kg

    (A) Actual
    (*) For basic mission
    (1) Limited by performance
    (2) Limited by gear strength

    Engines

    Attribute Value
    POWER PLANT
  • No, & Model
  • (4) R-3350-79 or-81
  • Manufacturer
  • Curtiss - Wright Corp., Wright Aeronautical Corp. Division
  • Engine Spec
  • 95-28266-5
  • Sup
  • (Dual Turbo) B-11 or B-31
  • Red, Gear Ratio
  • 0.35
    PROPELLER
  • Propeller Manufacturer
  • United Aircraft Corp., Hamilton Standard Propeller Division
  • Blade Design No.
  • 6521A-6
  • Propeller Type
  • Hydromatic
  • No. Blades
  • 4
  • Propeller Diameter
  • 16' 7" (5 m)
    ENGINE RATINGS
  • Take Off
  • 2200/2800rpm
  • Military
  • 2200/2600rpm/2500ft
  • Normal
  • 2000/2400rpm/4000ft

    Electronics

    EquipmentUS Designation
    VHF CommandAN/ARC-3
    InterphoneAN/AIC-2A
    LiaisonAN/ARC-8
    Radio CompassAN/ARN-7
    Marker BeaconRC-193A
    Homing AdapterAN/ARR-1
    LocalizerRC-103
    Glide PathAN/ARN-5A
    Radio AltimeterSCR-718C
    InterrogatorSCR-729
    RadarAN/APQ-7 or AN/APQ-23A
    LoranAN/APN-9 or AN/APN-4
    IFFSCR-695
    RavenRCM

    Crew

    Boeing B-29 Superfortress crew and sections

    The B-29 crew consisted of eleven members, with five officers and six enlisted men. The crew included a flight engineer, who was responsible for controlling the mechanical systems of the plane while the pilot and copilot flew. The flight engineer was often a trained pilot himself and sat behind the pilot and copilot, monitoring the plane’s vital signs.

    The crew was divided into two pressurized compartments, with the forward compartment housing the bombardier, aircraft commander, pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and radio operator. The rear compartment included the central fire control gunner, the left and right gunners, and the radar operator. Finally, the tail gunner worked in a separate pressurized compartment under the rudder.

    1. Pilot
    2. Co-pilot
    3. Navigator
    4. Flight engineer
    5. Bombardier
    6. Radio operator
    7. Radar operator
    8. Top gunner
    9. Left gunner
    10. Right gunner
    11. Tail gunner

    Fuel system

    Boeing B-29 Superfortress fuel system

    The B-29 had a maximum internal fuel capacity of 9,363 gallons, which included the bomb bay ferry tanks. This amount was equivalent to the capacity of a railroad tank car.

    The B-29’s fuel system underwent a design change from transfer-type to manifold-type between the early and later models.

    LocationNo. TanksGalsLiters
    Wing, outbond*226409993
    Wing, inbound*2283010713
    Wing, center*113335046
    Bomb bay225609691
    Total936335443

    (*) Self Sealing tanks

    Bombs and Guns

    Defensive armament

    The B-29’s defensive system consisted of five turrets that were controlled by a central fire control system.

    The armament included four remotely aimed .50 caliber machine guns in the forward dorsal turret, with two remotely aimed .50 caliber machine guns each in the aft dorsal, forward ventral, and aft ventral turrets.

    In addition, there were two .50 caliber machine guns in the tail turret. Early models also had a 20mm cannon mounted between the tail machine guns, but due to sighting problems and trajectory differences, the cannon was removed from later production models.

    No.Calibre/ Rounds eachLocation
    4.50 / 500Fuselage, upper forward
    2.50 / 500Fuselage, upper aft
    2.50 / 500Fuselage, lower forward
    2.50 / 500Fuselage, lower aft
    2.50 / 500Tail turret

    Bombs

    Compared to the B-24 and B-17, the B-29 had a much larger maximum internal bombload of 20,000 lb, which was four times the capacity of the B-24 and five times that of the B-17.

    No.SizeType
    44000 lbsGeneral-purpose (G.P.)
    82000 lbsGeneral-purpose (G.P.)
    121600 lbsArmor-piercing (A.P.)
    121000 lbsGeneral-purpose (G.P.)
    40500 lbsGeneral-purpose (G.P.)

    Performance

    The basic performance of the B-29 was the following:

    Combat radius

    1843 nm

    with 10,000 lb of payload at 215 knots avg. in 17.37 hours

    Combat range

    3445 nm

    with 10,000 lb of payload at 198 knots avg. in 17.54 hours

    Combat speed

    331 kn

    at 25,000 ft alt, max power

    Maximum speed

    347 kn


    at 30,000 ft alt, max power

    Climb

    500/1625

    fpm sea level, take-off weight normal power
    /fpm sea level, combat weight max power

    Ceiling

    23,950/
    36,200 ft

    100 fpm, take-off weight, normal power
    /500 fpm, combat weight max power

    Loading and Performance

    Basic mission, Max bombs mission, High alt. mission

    CONDITIONSBASIC MISSIONMAX. BOMBS MISSIONHIGH ALT MISSION
    TAKE-OFF WEIGHT140,000 lbs63.503 kg140,000 lbs63.503 kg140,000 lbs63.503 kg
  • Fuel at 6. lb/gal
  • 47,196 lbs21.408 kg39,396 lbs17.870 kg47,196 lbs21.408 kg
  • Military load (Bombs)
  • 10,000 lbs4.536 kg20,000 lbs9.072 kg10,000 lbs4.536 kg
  • Wing loading
  • 81.4 lb/sq ft81.4 lb/sq ft81.4 lb/sq ft
  • Stall speed (power off)
  • 103 kn191 km/h103 kn191 km/h103 kn191 km/h
  • Take-off ground run at SL
  • 5,230 ft1.594 m5,230 ft1.594 m5,230 ft1.594 m
  • Take-off to clear 50 ft
  • 7,825 ft2.385 m7,825 ft2.385 m7,825 ft2.385 m
  • Rate-of-climb at SL (3)
  • 500 fpm152 m/min500 fpm152 m/min500 fpm152 m/min
  • Time: SL to 10,000 ft (3)
  • 23.5 min23.5 min23.5 min
  • Time: SL to 20,000 ft
  • 61.5 min61.5 min61.5 min
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm)
  • 23,950 ft7.300 m23,950 ft7.300 m23,950 ft7.300 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(2)
  • 19,400 ft5.913 m19,400 ft5.913 m19,400 ft5.913 m
    COMBAT RANGE3,445 n.mi6.380 km2,627 n.mi4.865 km3,095 n.mi5.732 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 198 kn367 km/h202 kn374 km/h223 kn413 km/h
  • Cruising altitude
  • 10,000 ft3.048 m10,000 ft3.048 m20,000 ft6.096 m
  • Total mission time
  • 17.54 hr13.15 hr14.04 hr
    COMBAT RADIUS (5)1843 n.mi3.413 km1,466 n.mi2.715 km1,603 n.mi2.969 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 215 kn398 km/h216 kn400 km/h238 kn441 km/h
  • Cruising altitude (s)
  • 10,000 & 25,000 ft3048 & 7620 m10,000 & 25,000 ft3048 & 7620 m20,000 & 30,000 ft6096 & 9144 m
  • Total mission time
  • 17.37 hr13.80 hr13.73 hr
    COMBAT WEIGHT (6)101,250 lbs45.926 kg96,500 lbs43.772 kg98,900 lbs44.860 kg
  • Combat altitude
  • 25,000 ft7.620 m25,000 ft7.620 kg30,000 ft9.144 m
  • Combat speed (2)
  • 331 kn613 km/h333 kn617 km/h348 kn644 km/h
  • Combat climb
  • 1,265 fpm386 m/min1,410 fpm430 m/min1,180 fpm360 m/min
  • Combat ceiling (500 fpm) (2)
  • 36,200 ft11.034 m37,200 ft11.339 m36,650 ft11.171 m
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm) (3)
  • 39,600 ft12.070 m40,600 ft12.375 m40,100 ft12.222 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(3)
  • 34,700 ft10.577 m36,100 ft11.003 m35,450 ft10.805 m
  • Max rate-of-climb at SL(2)
  • 1,625 fpm495 m/min1,760 fpm536 m/min1,690 fpm515 m/min
  • Max speed at 10,000 ft(2)
  • 347 kn643 km/h348 kn644 km/h348 kn644 km/h
    LANDING WEIGHT83,564 lbs37.904 kg82,574 lbs37.455 kg83,564 lbs37.904 kg
  • Ground roll at SL(4)
  • 2,230 ft680 m2,210 ft674 m2,230 ft680 m
  • Total from 50 ft(4)
  • 2,960 ft902 m2,930 ft893 m2,960 ft902 m

    NOTES
    (1) Take-off power
    (2) Max power
    (3) Normal power
    (4) Take-off and landing distances are obtainable at sea level using normal techniques. For airport planning, distances should be increased by appropriate factors to determine runway requirements.

    Training mission, Ferry range

    CONDITIONSTRAINING MISSIONFERRY RANGE
    TAKE-OFF WEIGHT120,000 lbs54.431 kg138,278 lbs62.722 kg
  • Fuel at 6. lb/gal
  • 38,880 lbs17.636 kg56,178 lbs25.482 kg
  • Military load (Bombs)
  • NoneNone
  • Wing loading
  • 70.6 lb/sq ft80.4 lb/sq ft
  • Stall speed (power off)
  • 96 kn178 km/h102 kn189 km/h
  • Take-off ground run at SL
  • 3,425 ft1.044 m5,050 ft1.539 m
  • Take-off to clear 50 ft
  • 5,000 ft1.524 m7, 530 ft2.295 m
  • Rate-of-climb at SL (3)
  • 795 fpm242 m/min520 fpm158 m/min
  • Time: SL to 10,000 ft (3)
  • 14.0 min22.5 min
  • Time: SL to 20,000 ft
  • 31,3 min58.0 min
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm)
  • 35,650 ft10.866 m25,000 ft7.620 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(2)
  • 30,750 ft9.373 m20,650 ft6.294 m
    COMBAT RANGE3,213 n.mi5.950 km4,493 kn8.321 m
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 190 kn352 km/h191 kn354 km/h
  • Cruising altitude
  • 10,000 ft3.048 m10,000 ft3.048 m
  • Total mission time
  • 17.07 hr23.65 hr
    COMBAT RADIUS (5)1,640 n.mi3.037 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 211 kn391 km/h
  • Cruising altitude (s)
  • 10,000 & 25,000 ft3048 & 7620 m
  • Total mission time
  • 15.78 hr
    COMBAT WEIGHT (6)98,810 lbs44.819 kg84,518 lbs38.337 kg
  • Combat altitude
  • 25,000 lbs7.620 kg10,000 lbs3.048 kg
  • Combat speed (2)
  • 332 kn615 km/h293 kn543 km/h
  • Combat climb
  • 1,340 fpm408 m/min2,045 fpm623 m/min
  • Combat ceiling (500 fpm) (2)
  • 36,650 ft11.171 m39,800 ft12.131 m
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm) (3)
  • 40,100 ft12.222 m43,200 ft13.167 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(3)
  • 35,450 ft10.805 m39,150 ft11.933 m
  • Max rate-of-climb at SL(2)
  • 1,690 fpm515 m/min2,160 fpm658 m/min
  • Max speed at 10,000 ft(2)
  • 348 kn644 km/h353 kn654 km/h
    LANDING WEIGHT83,064 lbs37.677 kg84,518 lbs38.337 kg
  • Ground roll at SL(4)
  • 2,220 ft677 m2,255 ft687 m
  • Total from 50 ft(4)
  • 2,950 ft899 m2,985 ft910 m

    NOTES
    (1) Take-off power
    (2) Max power
    (3) Normal power
    (4) Take-off and landing distances are obtainable at sea level using normal techniques. For airport planning, distances should be increased by appropriate factors to determine runway requirements.

    Further reading

    Bibliography

    • B-29 Superfortress SAC 19-APR-1950, Air Materiel Command, U.S. Air Force

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    Javier Guerrero
    Javier Guerrero
    Javier is the editor @ Nuclear Companion and loves to investigate and write about the cold war.

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