American Combat Planes of the 20th Century is an incredible reference for anyone who is interested in any American Combat Plane History.   There are 758 pages and 1700 b/w photos in this substantial labor of love by Ray Wagner, who has been passionately researching and writing about aircraft for over 50 years.   Whether you are already familiar with his past works, or just discovering this accomplished author for the first time... This is the book that you've been waiting for!

If you'd like to see the book's   Table of Contents ... Click here.   You can also browse the entire   Index Section   to get an idea of the extensive amount of information that is covered within this book.

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A- 1 Eaton     A- 4 Skyhawk     A- 6 & A- 7     Air Weapons     AV- 8 to A- 10     A- 20 Havoc     A- 22 Martin Maryland     A- 23 Martin Baltimore     A- 24 Douglas     A- 26 Douglas Invader     Attack Planes     B- 2A, F-111, F-117 Stealth    B- 17 Flying Fortress     B- 24 Liberator     B- 25 North American     B- 26 Marauder     B- 29 Superfortress     B- 32 Dominator     B- 35 Flying Wing     B- 36     B- 47 Stratojet     B- 50 Boeing     B- 52 Stratofortress     B- 57 Canberra     B- 58 Hustler     Biplanes     Biplanes, Army Pursuits     Bombers, B- 70 to Stealth     Bombers, First Big     Curtiss Falcon     CO- 1     DH- 4 De Havilland     F3D- Douglas Skyknight    F3H- McDonnell Demon    F4D- 1 Skyray    F4F Grumman Wildcats    F- 4U Corsair    F6F Grumman    F7F Grumman    F7U Vought    F9F G. Cougar    F9F G. Panther    F- 16 Fighting Falcon    F- 84     F- 86 Sabre    F- 89 to F-94    F- 100 to F-108    First Fighters    Flying Boats    GAX    Iraq to Afghanistan    Martin Bombers    Missile Era Fighters    Navy Fighers    Navy Flying Boats    O- 2 Douglas     P- 35 Seversky     P- 36 to 42 Curtiss     P- 38 Lightning    P- 39 Airacobra    P- 40 Line    P- 47 Thunderbolt    P- 51 Mustang Fighter    P- 61 Black Widow    P- 63 Kingcobra    P- 79 to P-81    P- 82 Twin Mustang    SB2C Helldiver    TBF-TBM Avenger    Thomas-Morse    Torpedo Planes    V- 11 Vultee    XB -28    XP -48 / 77   

Boeing B-50

Page 1


Boeing B-50
Development of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major gave Boeing an opportunity to improve their own bomber, and these 3,000-hp radials were installed on a B-29A; which became the XB-44. Ordered in July 1944, the XB-44 began tests in May 1945 with redesigned engine nacelles.

This became the prototype for the next Boeing series, originally designated B-29D when first 200 were ordered in July 1945, but renamed B-50 in December 1945, when the order was cut to 60. The new designation emphasized that this was a B-29 replacement, not a mere modification, and had a 75% new structure, including a stronger grade of aluminum. First flown June 25, 1947, by A. Elliott Merrill, the B-50A-1 had 3,500-hp R-4360-35s, a crew of 11 and could be distinguished from B-29s by their engine nacelles and tall tail, which folded for hangar storage. Armament was similar to late B-29A models, with thirteen .50-caliber guns and a double bay for 20,000 pounds of bombs, or a Mk III nuclear bomb in the forward bay.

Before entering service with SAC’s 43rd Bomb Wing on February 20, 1948, they had to be modified with winterization provisions for arctic operations, and to handle new Mk 4 nuclear weapons. Of 79 B-50As, 57 were fitted for air refueling from the KB-29M hose system. This was demonstrated when the B-50A-5 “Lucky Lady II”, made the first nonstop flight around the world, 23,452 miles, arriving back at Carswell AFB, Texas, on March 2, 1949, after 94 hours and refueling from eight KB-29M tanker planes. BOEING B-50A BOEING B-54A (project)

On January 18, 1949, the last B-50A was followed by the first of 45 B-50Bs with two 700-gallon fuel tanks under strengthened wings, and the hose refueling system. All but the first B-50B were modified with nine cameras to become ten-place RB-50Bs and issued to a strategic reconnaissance group. Fourteen were reconfigured as RB-50E at the Wichita factory and redelivered, beginning in May 1950, followed by 14 RB-50F rebuilds with Shoran radar. Electronic reconnaissance was the mission of 15 16-place RB-50G conversions delivered from June to October 1951.

A YB-50C was proposed with Pratt & Whitney R-4360-51 compound VDT engines, but this change required complete airframe redesign. Forty-three were ordered in May 1948 as the Boeing B-54A, but on April 5, 1949, they were canceled in favor of the B-36D.

The B-50D introduced a modified plastic nose cone, more fuel space including two underwing drop tanks, and APQ-24 bombing radar. Between May 1949 and December 1950, 222 B-50Ds were delivered, and beginning with 16th B-50D, receptacles were installed for the boom air refueling system on the KB-29P. They could accommodate the 10,800-pound Mk 4 nuclear bomb that replaced the Mk III by 1950.


Production was completed with 24 unarmed TB-50Hs built by February 1953 built to train future B-47 jet crews to use the K-system of radar navigation and bombing. As the B-50s retired from their five SAC bomber wings in 1953/55, they were recycled as TB-50D trainers, WB-50D weather reconnaissance types, and KB-50J and KB-50K tanker aircraft. These supported the B-47 jets that had replaced the older types.

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