Boeing B-29A Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Boeing B-29A Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Boeing B-29A Superfortress Specifications (1950)

Mission

The main objective of the B-29A was the destruction of enemy equipment and facilities through aerial bombing.

Differences with B-29

While no external differences were visible between the B-29 and B-29A, a significant distinction existed in the wing installation. The B-29A featured a stub wing center section installed into the fuselage, while all other B-29s had two inboard wing panels joined at the aircraft’s centerline. This difference, which increased the B-29A’s wingspan by a foot, warranted a new aircraft designator.

Boeing B-29A Superfortress with open bomb bays
A Boeing B-29A Superfortress with open bomb bays (U.S. Air Force photo)

Although the structural change simplified construction, it negatively impacted aircraft performance by increasing the empty weight by 706 pounds. Moreover, the usable fuel capacity in the center wing tank decreased by 213 gallons (from 1333 to 1120 gallons total capacity).

Development

The first B-29A saw acceptance in January 1944. Its production run lasted until June 1946. This aircraft was exclusively produced at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington, which focused solely on manufacturing the B-29A version. Throughout its production period, the Renton plant successfully built 1,122 units of the B-29A variant.

Dimensions and Weights

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DIMENSIONSUSMetric
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)
  • 72,206 lbs32.752 kg
  • Basic (A)
  • 74,760 lbs33.911 kg
    Operating
  • Design
  • 120,000 lbs54.431 kg
  • Combat (*)
  • 101,472 lbs46.027 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-3350-57 or-57A
  • 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

    c

    The B-29A crew was made up of eleven members, comprising five officers and six enlisted personnel.

    The crew was split into two pressurized sections: the forward compartment housed the bombardier, aircraft commander, pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and radio operator. Meanwhile, the rear compartment accommodated the central fire control gunner, left and right gunners, and the radar operator. The tail gunner operated from a distinct pressurized area beneath the rudder.

    The list of crew members is the following:

    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-29A Superfortress fuel system

    As said at the top, the design change of the wing center section resulted in a loss of 213 gallons of fuel in the center wing tank.

    LocationNo. TanksGalsLiters
    Wing, outbond*226409993
    Wing, inbound*2283010713
    Wing, center*111204240
    Bomb bay225609691
    Total915034637

    (*) Self Sealing tanks

    Bombs and Guns

    Defensive armament

    The defensive setup of the B-29A featured five turrets governed by a centralized fire control system.

    The weaponry comprised four remotely directed .50 caliber machine guns in the front dorsal turret, and two remotely directed .50 caliber machine guns each in the rear dorsal, front ventral, and rear ventral turrets.

    Furthermore, the tail turret was equipped with two .50 caliber machine guns.

    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

    When contrasted with the B-24 and B-17, the B-29A boasted a significantly greater maximum internal bomb load of 20,000 lb. This capacity was four times larger than that of the B-24 and five times greater than the B-17’s capacity.

    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-29A was the following:

    Combat radius

    1800 nm

    with 10,000 lb of payload at 216 knots avg. in 16.90 hours

    Combat range

    3321 nm

    with 10,000 lb of payload at 198 knots avg. in 16.88 hours

    Combat speed

    331 kn

    at 25,000 ft alt, max power

    Maximum speed

    347 kn


    at 30,000 ft alt, max power

    Climb

    500/1620

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

    Ceiling

    23,950/
    36,150 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
  • 46,490 lbs21.088 kg38,690 lbs17.549 kg46,490 lbs21.088 kg
  • Military load (Bombs)
  • 10,000 lbs4.536 kg20,000 lbs9.072 kg10,000 lbs4.536 kg
  • Wing loading
  • 81.4 lb/sq ft397,4 kg/m281.4 lb/sq ft397,4 kg/m281.4 lb/sq ft397,4 kg/m2
  • 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 min 23.5 min 23.5 min
  • Time: SL to 20,000 ft
  • 61.5 min 61.5 min 61.5 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 RANGE3,321 n.mi6150 km2,583 n.mi4.784 km3,025 n.mi5.602 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 199 kn369 km/h204 kn378 km/h223 kn413 km/h
  • Cruising altitude
  • 10,000 ft3.048 m10,000 ft3.048 m20,000 ft6.096 m
  • Total mission time
  • 16.88 hrs 12.85 hrs 13.71 hrs
    COMBAT RADIUS (5)1800 n.mi3.334 km1,428 n.mi2.645 km1563 n.mi2.895 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 216 kn400 km/h215 kn398 km/h239 kn443 km/h
  • Cruising altitude (s)
  • 10,000 & 25,000 ft3.048 m & 7.620 m 10,000 & 25,000 ft3.048 m & 7.620 m 20,000 & 30,000 ft6.096 m & 9.144 m
  • Total mission time
  • 16.90 hrs 13.41 hrs 13.33 hrs
    COMBAT WEIGHT (6)101,472 lbs46.027 kg96,900 lbs43.953 kg99,330 lbs45.055 kg
  • Combat altitude
  • 25,000 ft7.620 m25,000 ft7.620 m30,000 ft9.144 m
  • Combat speed (2)
  • 331 kn613 km332 kn615 km347 kn643 km
  • Combat climb
  • 1260 fpm384 m/min1,395 fpm425 m/min1,165 fpm355 m/min
  • Combat ceiling (500 fpm) (2)
  • 36,150 ft11.019 m37,100 ft11.308 m36,550 ft11.140 m
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm) (3)
  • 39,550 ft12.055 m40,500 ft12.344 m40,000 ft12.192 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(3)
  • 34,550 ft10.531 m36,000 ft10.973 m35,300 ft10.759 m
  • Max rate-of-climb at SL(2)
  • 1,620 fpm494 m/min1,745 fpm532 m/min1,675 fpm511 m/min
  • Max speed at 10,000 ft(2)
  • 347 kn643 km348 kn644 km347 kn643 km
    LANDING WEIGHT84,236 lbs38.209 kg83,245 lbs37.759 kg84,236 lbs38.209 kg
  • Ground roll at SL(4)
  • 2,250 ft686 m2,225 ft678 m2,250 ft686 m
  • Total from 50 ft(4)
  • 2,980 ft908 m2,950 ft899 m2,980 ft908 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.

    High-Speed Mission, Ferry Range

    ConditionsHigh Speed MissionFerry Range
    TAKE-OFF WEIGHT140,000 lbs63.503 kg137,610 lbs62.419 kg
  • Fuel at 6. lb/gal
  • 46,490 lbs21.088 kg54,900 lbs24.902 kg
  • Military load (Bombs)
  • 10,000 lbs4.536 kg
  • Wing loading
  • 81.4 lb/sq ft397,4 kg/m280.0 lb/sq ft 390,6 kg/m2
  • Stall speed (power off)
  • 103 kn191 km/h102 kn189 km/h
  • Take-off ground run at SL
  • 5,230 ft1594 m4,980 ft1.518 m
  • Take-off to clear 50 ft
  • 7,825 ft2385 m7,410 ft2.259 m
  • Rate-of-climb at SL (3)
  • 500 fpm152 m/min530 fpm162 m/min
  • Time: SL to 10,000 ft (3)
  • 23.5 min 21.8 min
  • Time: SL to 20,000 ft
  • 61.5 min 56.5 min
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm)
  • 23,950 ft7.300 m25,500 ft7.772 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(2)
  • 19,400 ft5.913 m21,100 ft6.431 m
    COMBAT RANGE1,838 n.mi3.404 km4,393 n.mi8.136 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 259 kn480 km/h191 kn354 km/h
  • Cruising altitude
  • 10,000 ft3.048 m10,000 ft3.048 m
  • Total mission time
  • 7.37 hrs 23.10 hrs
    COMBAT RADIUS (5)1,036 n.mi1.919 km
  • Avg cruising speed
  • 275 kn509 km/h
  • Cruising altitude (s)
  • 10,000 & 25,000 ft3.048 m & 7.620 m
  • Total mission time
  • 7.78 hrs
    COMBAT WEIGHT (6)103,806 lbs47.086 kg85,000 lbs38.555 kg
  • Combat altitude
  • 25,000 ft7.620 m10,000 ft3.048 m
  • Combat speed (2)
  • 330 kn611 km293 kn543 km
  • Combat climb
  • 1,195 fpm364 m/min2,025 fpm617 m/min
  • Combat ceiling (500 fpm) (2)
  • 35,650 ft10.866 m39,700 ft12.101 m
  • Service ceiling (100 fpm) (3)
  • 39,050 ft11.902 m43,100 ft13.137 m
  • Service ceiling (one engine out)(3)
  • 32,750 ft9.982 m39,050 ft11.902 m
  • Max rate-of-climb at SL(2)
  • 1,555 fpm474 m/min2,140 fpm652 m/min
  • Max speed at 10,000 ft(2)
  • 346 kn641 km353 kn654 km
    LANDING WEIGHT84,236 lbs38.209 kg85,000 lbs38.555 kg
  • Ground roll at SL(4)
  • 2,250 ft686 m2,260 ft689 m
  • Total from 50 ft(4)
  • 2,980 ft908 m3,000 ft914 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 in detail & scale, Part 1 by Alwyn T. Lloyd
    • B-29A Superfortress Standard Aircraft Characteristics, 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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