Daily Archives: February 8, 2024

8 February 2012

Boeing 747-100SR, N911NA, NASA 911, Space Shuttle Carrier makes its last landing, at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, 8 February 2012. (NASA)
NASA 911, a modified Boeing 747-146 transport, FAA registration N911NA, one of two NASA Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, makes its final landing at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, 8 February 2012. (NASA)

8 February 2012: End of an era. NASA 911, the Boeing 747-146 that has been used as a space shuttle carrier, made its last flight on Wednesday, 8 February 2012, a 20-minute hop from Edwards Air Force Base to Palmdale Plant 42. In 38 years, this airplane accumulated 33,004.1 flight hours, which is relatively low time for an airliner. It will be cannibalized for parts to keep another NASA 747 flying.

NASA 911 (Boeing serial number 20781) made its first flight 31 August 1973, registered as JA8817, and flew in commercial service with Japan Air Lines for fifteen years. It was obtained by NASA in 1989 and turned over to Boeing for modification as the second Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Japan Air Lines’ Boeing 747-146 JA8112, sister ship of NASA 911. (Michael Gilliland/Wikimedia)

The 747-146 SR is a short-range, high-capacity airliner variant produced by Boeing for Japan Air Lines. It was strengthened to handle the additional takeoffs and landings of short-duration flights. Additional structural support was built into the fuselage, wings and landing gear, while the fuel capacity was reduced 20% from that of the standard 747-100. Seven were built between 1973 and 1975.

It is 231 feet, 10.2 inches (70.668 meters) long with a wingspan of 195 feet, 8 inches (59.639 meters) and overall height of 63 feet, 5 inches (19.329 meters). Its empty weight is 323,034 pounds (146,526 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight 710,000 pounds (322,050 kilograms).

NASA's fleet of Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905 (foreground) and NASA 911, (background). NASA)
NASA’s fleet of Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905 (foreground) and NASA 911. (NASA)

NASA 911 was equipped with more powerful JT9D-7J engines in place of the standard airplane’s JT9D-7A engines. This increased thrust from 46,950 pounds to 50,000 pounds (222.41 kilonewtons) each. The JT9D-7J is a two-spool, axial-flow turbofan engine with a single stage fan section, 14-stage compressor section and 4-stage turbine. This engine has a maximum diameter of 7 feet, 11.6 inches (2.428 meters), is 12 feet, 10.2 inches (3.917 meters) long and weighs 8,850 pounds (4,014 kilograms).

While carrying a space shuttle, the SCA maximum speed is 0.6 Mach (432 miles per hour, or 695  kilometers per hour). The service ceiling is 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) and its range is 1,150 miles (1,850.75 kilometers).

A NASA Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, California with the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour. (NASA)
A NASA Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, California with the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour. (NASA)

NASA 911 is on display at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, Palmdale, California.

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

8 February 2010

The prototype Boeing 747-8F Advanced Freighter takes off for the first time, 8 February 2010. (Unattributed)

8 February 2010: At 12:39 p.m. PST (20:39 UTC), the prototype Boeing 747–8F advanced freighter, N747EX, took off from Paine Field’s Runway 34L. Chief Pilot Mark G. Feuerstein and Senior Engineering Test Pilot Captain Tom Imrich were on the flight deck. The prototype’s call sign was “Boeing 501 Experimental Heavy.”

Almost a completely redesigned airplane, the 747-8F incorporates a stretched fuselage; a more flexible wing with increased span, new airfoils, and raked tips; more powerful and efficient engines; and fly-by-wire systems similar to those of the Boeing 787 airliner. The freighter has two cargo decks and the nose can open for easy access to the cargo bays.

A Canadair CT-33 chase plane flies on the prototype’s wing. (Unattributed)

During the 3 hour, 39 minute flight, N747EX reached an altitude of 17,000 feet (5,182 meters) and a maximum speed of 230 knots (265 miles per hour/426 kilometers per hour). The prototype landed back at PAE at 4:18 p.m. PST (00:18 UTC). Mark Feuerstein said, “The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400.”

The prototype Boeing 747-8F freighter, N747EX, during its first flight, 8 February 2010. (Boeing)

N747EX was one of three new freighters used during the fourteen month flight test and certification program. Most of these flights took place at Moses Lake, Washington, and Palmdale, California. the three -8Fs flew more than 3,400 hours. The Federal Aviation Administration type certificate was approved 19 August 2011.

“A Boeing Co. 747-8 Freighter, right, comes in for a landing accompanied by an observation plane above a crowd of Boeing workers and other guests after the airplane’s inaugural test flight, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in Everett, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo via Der Spiegel)”
“EVERETT, WA – FEBRUARY 8: A Boeing 747-8 freighter lands after its first test flight February 8, 2009 at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. The 747-8 is the largest jumbo jet Boeing has built. (Stephen Brashear/AFP via Der Spiegel)”
“Capt. Mark Feuerstein, right, Boeing Co.’s chief 747 pilot, and first officer Capt. Thomas Imrich exit a Boeing 747-8 Freighter after flying it for the airplane’s inaugural test flight, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in Everett, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP via Der Spiegel)”

N747EX is designated as a 747–8R7F, serial number 35808. It is a very large, swept wing, commercial cargo transport powered by four engines. The minimum flight crew consists of a pilot and co-pilot, though on long flights there may be six or more pilots aboard. The 747-8F is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.251 meters) long, with a wingspan of 224 feet, 5 inches (68.402 meters), and overall height of 63 feet, 6 inches (19.355 meters). The length is an 18 foot, 4 inch (5.588 meters) stretch over the previous 747-400. The cargo decks have a volume of 30,288 cubic feet (858 cubic meters).

The new freighter has an empty weight of 434,600 pounds (197,131 kilograms). The Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) is 987,000 pounds (447,696 kilograms). The payload is 303,700 pounds (137,756 kilograms).

The nose of the Boeing 747-8F freighter is raised to access the main cargo deck. The lower cargo compartments are accessed through the side of the fuselage. (Boeing)

The –8 is powered by four General Electric GENx-2B67 high bypass turbofans. These are dual-rotor, axial flow engines with a single fan stage; 13-stage compressor section (3 low-pressure and 10 high-pressure stages); and an 8-stage turbine (2 high- and 6 low-pressure stages. The fan has a diameter of 104.7 inches (2.66 meters). Each engine weighs 12,396 pounds (5,623 kilograms) and produces 66,500 pounds of thrust (295.8 kilonewtons).

The cruise speed of the 747-8F is Mach 0.845. Its maximum speed, VMO, is 365  knots (KCAS) (676 kilometers per hour). The maximum Mach number, MMO, is 0.9 Mach. The freighter’s maximum operating altitude is 42,100 feet (12,832 meters).

The airplane has a maximum fuel capacity 63,034 U.S. gallons (238,610 liters), giving it a range of 4,390 nautical miles (5,052 statute miles/8,130 kilometers).

N747EX was de-registered 23 May 2012 and exported to Luxembourg for CargoLux. It was re-registered LX-VCA, and given the name City of Vianden

The prototype Boeing 787-8F in service with Cargolux, now registered LX-VCA. (Nathan Coats/Wikipedia)

The 747 first flew 9 February 1969. As of December 2020, 1,562 have been built. On 12 January 2021, Boeing announced that the final 747s, four Boeing 747-8F freighters, had been ordered by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. The final Boeing 747, N863GT S/n 67150, line number 1574) was delivered to Atlas Air 31 January 2023. The production of the “jumbo jet” has come to a close.

The last of 1,574 Boeing 747s, 747-8F N863GT, was delivered to Atlas Air 31 January 2023. (Airline Ratings)

© 2022, Bryan R. Swopes

8 February 1974, 02:33:12 UTC

Skylab in Earth orbit, as seen by the departing Skylab 4 mission crew, 8 February 1974. (NASA)
Skylab in Earth orbit, as seen by the departing Skylab 4 mission crew, 8 February 1974. (NASA)

8 February 1974: At 02:33:12 UTC, the Skylab 4/Apollo command module undocked from the Skylab space station in Earth orbit, after 83 days, 4 hours, 38 minutes, 12 seconds. After several orbits, the Apollo capsule reentered the atmosphere and landed in the Pacific Ocean southwest of San Diego California, at 15:16:53 UTC. The crew was recovered by USS New Orleans (LPH-11), a helicopter carrier. Today, the Apollo capsule is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum.

Skylab was an orbital laboratory built from a Saturn S-IVB third stage. It was launched from Cape Canaveral 14 May 1973 as part of a modified Saturn V rocket. The Skylab 4 crew was the third and final group of astronauts to live and the space station. (The mission insignia incorporates the numeral 3.)

Skylab’s orbit gradually decayed and it re-entered the atmosphere near Perth, Australia, 11 July 1979.

The Skylab 4 mission crew, left to right, Mission Commander Gerald P. Carr, Mission Scientist Edward G. Gibson and Pilot William R. Pogue. Pogue and Carr had joined NASA during the Apollo Program and were scheduled for Apollo 19, which was cancelled. This was the only space flight for these three astronauts. (NASA)
The Skylab 4 mission crew, left to right, Mission Commander Gerald P. Carr, Mission Scientist Edward G. Gibson and Pilot William R. Pogue. Pogue and Carr had joined NASA during the Apollo Program and were scheduled for Apollo 19, which was cancelled. This was the only space flight for these three astronauts. (NASA)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

21 January–8 February 1971

A Lockheed P-3C Orion (Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class John Herman, U.S. Navy)
Lockheed P-3C-225-LO Orion, Bu. No. 162775, of Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), similar to the record-setting airplane flown by CDR Lilienthal and his crew, 22 January–8 February 1971. (Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class John Herman, U.S. Navy)

21 January–8 February 1971: A Lockheed P-3C Orion antisubmarine warfare patrol bomber, Bu. No. 156512, under the command of Commander Donald H. Lilienthal, United States Navy, took off from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, at 23:30 UTC, Thursday, 21 January (8:30 a.m., 22 January, Japan Time), and flew 11,036.47 kilometers (6,857.75 statute miles), non-stop, to NATC Patuxent River, Maryland. The airplane landed at 8:51 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (13:51 UTC), Friday, 22 January. The duration of the flight was 15 hours, 21 minutes.

This was a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world distance record for turboprop airplanes.¹ The Orion’s course deviated around foreign airspace so the actual distance flown was 7,010 miles (11,218.5 kilometers).

Photograph of CDR Lilienthal and LCDR Stoodley with their P-3C, 156521. (JAX AIR NEWS-LATWINGER, 19 February 1971, Page 15.)
Photograph of CDR Lilienthal and LCDR Stoodley with their P-3C, 156512. (JAX AIR NEWS-LATWINGER, 19 February 1971, Page 15.)

For the long distance flight the Orion carried a flight crew of seven: Commander Donald H. Lilienthal, Aircraft Commander; Captain R.H. Ross, Pilot; Lieutenant Commander F. Howard Stoodley, Pilot; Lieutenant R.T. Myers, Navigator; Commander J.E. Koehr, Meteorologist; Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate K.D. Frantz, Flight Engineer; and Chief Aviation Electrician’s Mate H.A. Statti, Flight Engineer.

A Lockheed P-3C Orion patrol bomber. (U.S. Navy)
A Lockheed P-3C Orion patrol bomber. (Lockheed Martin via Code One Magazine)

On Wednesday, 27 January 1971, the same airplane set both FAI and National Aeronautic Association records for Speed Over a Straight Course of 15/25 Kilometers of 806.10 kilometers per hour (500.89 miles per hour) at NAS Patuxent River.²

The U.S. National Record still stands:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 19.47.13

On February 4, at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of Southern California, Commander Lilienthal flew 156512 to a World Record for Altitude in Horizontal Flight of 13,721.5 meters (45,018.1 feet).³

On 8 February 1971, while till at Edwards AFB, Commander Lilienthal and 156512 set five more world records for heavy turboprop airplanes. The P-3C climbed to a height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) in 2 minutes, 52 seconds ⁴ ; to 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) in 5 minutes, 46 seconds ⁵ ; to 9,000 meters (29, 528 feet) in 10 minutes, 26 seconds ⁶ ; and 12,000 meters (39,370 feet) in 19 minutes, 42 seconds.⁷ The Orion continued climbing until it reached a world record altitude of 14,086.1 meters (46,214.2 feet). ⁸

For his record-setting flights, Commander Lilienthal was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Lockheed Model 188 Electra prototype, N1881, at Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank, California, 1957 (Robert Reedy Collection/San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

The record-setting airplane was a Lockheed Model 285A P-3C-110-LO Orion, Bu. No. 156512, LAC serial number 5506, built by the Lockheed-California Company at Burbank, California. The Orion was completed 14 August 1969. It was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The Orion was a standard production P-3C with no engine or fuel system modifications.

The Lockheed P-3 Orion was developed from the Model 188 Electra—a four-engine turboprop airliner which first flew in 1957—primarily as a long-range anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance aircraft. The P-3 has been adapted to many other missions. The P-3C variant in U.S. Navy service is usually operated by a crew of 11.

The bomber is 116 feet, 10 inches (35.611 meters) long with a wingspan of 99 feet, 8 inches (30.378 meters) and overall height of 34 feet, 3 inches (10.439 meters). It has a zero-fuel weight of 77,200 pounds (35,017 kilograms) and a normal maximum takeoff weight of 135,000 pounds (61,235 kilograms) (Overload Takeoff: 139,780 pounds/63,403 kilograms).

The P-3C is powered by four Allison T56-A-14 turboprop engines which produce 4,591 shaft horsepower at 13,820 r.p.m., each. They drive four-bladed Hamilton-Standard 54H60-77 constant-speed propellers with a diameter of 13 feet, 5¾ inches (4.109 meters) at 1,020 r.p.m. The T56-A-14 is a single-shaft axial-flow turboprop engine, with a 14-stage compressor section, six combustors, and a 4-stage turbine. The engine is 12 feet, 2.3 inches (3.716 meters) long, 4 feet, 1.0 inches (1.245 meters) in diameter and weighs 1,885 pounds (855 kilograms).

The P-3C can remain airborne for 16 hours.

There is a wide variety of sensors board the P-3. Sonobuoys can be dropped from the belly. A Magnetic Anomaly Detector, the “MAD boom” is mounted at the tail of the aircraft.

The Orion caries no defensive weapons. It can carry bombs, depth charges, torpedoes, mines, air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles, and nuclear weapons.

Hunter and prey. A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion escorts a nuclear-powered Soviet Victor-III attack submarine. (U.S. Navy)
Hunter and prey. A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C-205-LO Orion, Bu. No. 161339, escorts a Soviet Victor I (Project 671) nuclear-powered attack submarine. (U.S. Navy)

More than 750 P-3 Orions and its variants were built by Lockheed and licensee Kawasaki Heavy Industries between 1961 and 1996. In addition to the U.S. Navy and various Federal government agencies, the Lockheed P-3 Orion remains in service worldwide with more than twenty countries.

Lockheed P-3C-110-LO Orion Bu. No. 156512 served as a test aircraft at Patuxent River until 15 July 1974. It was then assigned to VP-31 where it remained for over nine years, carrying the squadron identification marking RP and the numeral 9. It later served with VP-9, VP-46, VP-65, VP-16 and finally, VP-45. 156512 was placed in long-term storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, in 1995, and was scrapped in 2004.

A Lockheed P-3C Orion of Patrol Squadron Sixty-Five (VP-65) (PG 06)  at NAS Point Mugu (NTD), on the southern coastline of California, 28 March 1993. Photographed by Vance Vasquez. (San Diego Air & Space Museum)
Midshipman D. H. Lilienthal (The 1955 Lucky Bag)

Donald Herman Lilienthal was born 6 February 1931 at Pope, Minnesota. He was the fourth child of Frederick R. Lilienthal, a steam railway worker, and Bertha Camille Metlie Lilienthal. He attended Glenwood High School, Glenwood, Minnesota, graduating in 1949. He then studied mathematics at the University of Minnesota, before accepting an appointment as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1951.

Midshipman Lilienthal graduated from Annapolis and was commissioned an ensign, United States Navy, 3 June 1955. He was then trained as a pilot. Later, he graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

In June 1958, Lieutenant (j.g.) Lilienthal married Miss Jeanne L. Murphy, in Duval County, Florida. They had three children, Karen, John and Donald, Jr. They divorced in March 1975.

Lieutenant (j.g.) Lilienthal was promoted to the rank of lieutenant 1 July 1959, and to lieutenant commander, 1 July 1964. He advanced to commander on 1 July 1969.

Commander Donald H. Lilienthal, United States Navy

Commander Lilenthal retired from the United States Navy in December 1975 after 20 years of service as an antisubmarine warfare pilot and test pilot. He later worked as a consultant to the aviation industry.

Commander Lilienthal married Mrs. Jimena Rosa Goich Recavrren, a widow, in Arlington, Virginia, 17 September 1982. They divorced 3 December 1993 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Commander Donald Herman Lilienthal, United States Navy (Retired) passed away at Loudon, Virginia, 21 August 2014 at the age of 83 years. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

A Lockheed P-3B Orion, Bu. No. 153451, Patrol Squadron 17, off Ohau, 1976. (PH2 (AC) Westhusing, U. S. Navy)
A Lockheed P-3B-90-LO Orion, Bu. No. 153451, of Patrol Squadron 17, off Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, 1976. (PH2 (AC) Westhusing, U. S. Navy)

¹ FAI Record File Number 8070

² FAI Record File Number 8582

³ FAI Record File Number 8476

⁴ FAI Record File Number 3400

⁵ FAI Record File Number 3401

⁶ FAI Record File Number 3402

⁷ FAI Record File Number 3403

⁸ FAI Record File Number 8055

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

8 February 1949

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet 46-065. (U.S. Air Force)

8 February 1949: One of the two Boeing XB-47 Stratojet prototypes made a record-breaking transcontinental flight from Moses Lake Air Force Base, Washington, to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in 3 hours, 46 minutes. Majors Russell Ellsworth (“Russ”) Schleeh and Joseph Woodrow Howell beat the official U.S. national record set two years earlier by Colonel William Haldane Councill in a specially-prepared Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star.¹

Great Circle route from Moses Lake, Washington, to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. 2,198 statute miles (1,910 nautical miles/3,537 kilometers) (Great Circle Mapper)

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Jet Bomber Spans Nation in 3 Hours 46 Minutes

New Plane Averages 607.2 m.p.h. to Make Fastest Coast-to-Coast Journey on Record

     Washington, Feb. 8 (AP)—An arrow-shaped XB-47 jet bomber streaked through the stratosphere at an average speed of 607.2 miles an hour today in the fastest transcontinental flight ever made.

     The bomber, rated as “light” despite its 125,000 pounds, flew 2289 miles from Moses Lake (Wash.) Air Base to Andrews Field, Md., a few miles south of the capital, in 3h. 46m.

     The pace was 27 minutes shorter in time and 23 miles faster in average speed than the official record of 4h. 13m. at 584 m.p.h. established by Col. William H. Council [sic] in an F-80 Shooting Star two years ago.

     No Official Claim

     However, the Air Force will claim no record. The flight was not timed officially and it did not fly the recognized contest course. The recognized course—the one Col. Council flew—is Los Angeles to new York, 2464 miles.

     The XB-47 is a six-engine, swept wing bomber built by Boeing Airplane Co. at Seattle, known as the Stratojet, it is the Air Force’s first bomber designed for speeds in excess of 600 miles an hour.

     The XB-47 is the plane to which Air Force Secretary Symington referred last fall when he mentioned a jet bomber running away from jet fighters. Ten XB-47s are to be built at Boeing’s Wichita (Kan.) plant, where about half of all the B-29s were built during the war.

     Maj. Russell E. Schleeh, pilot, and Maj. Joseph W. Howell, co-pilot, both said the flight was strictly routine. They were comfortable in a new type flying suit being tested by the Materiel Command, used oxygen all the way, and navigated by radio compass on a great circle course which took them 20 miles south of Chicago.

     The first  part of the flight was at 32,000 feet. Later they moved up to 37,000 feet. The pressurized cabin was maintained at 23,000 feet. During one hour they covered 648 miles.

     In addition to six J-35 turbo-jet engines built by General Electric Co. at Lynn, Mass., which gave a total of 24,000 pounds of thrust, the Stratojet can use 18 rockets each capable of delivering 1000 pounds of thrust for a few seconds. The rockets were not carried today.

     The XB-47 carries a parachute in its tail to help it stop quickly.

Los Angeles Times, Vol. LXVIII, 9 February 1949, Page 1, Columns 6 and 7, and Page 3, Columns 1–8

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet 46-065 in flight over a snow-covered landscape. (U.S. Air Force)

Designed as a strategic bomber, the B-47 could fly higher and faster than jet fighters of the time, and it was also highly maneuverable. The XB-47 (Boeing Model 450) was flown by a two-man crew in a tandem cockpit. It was 107 feet, 6 inches (32.766 meters) long with a wingspan of 116 feet (35.357 meters). The top of the vertical fin was 27 feet, 8 inches (8.433 meters) high. The wings were shoulder-mounted with the leading edges swept at 35°.

The first prototype, 46-065, was powered by six General Electric J35-GE-7 axial flow turbojet engines in four pods mounted on pylons below the wings. The J35 was a single-spool, axial-flow turbojet engine with an 11-stage compressor and single-stage turbine. The J35-GE-7 was rated at 3,750 pounds of thrust (16.68 kilonewtons) at 7,700 r.p.m. (static thrust, Sea Level). The engine was 14 feet, 0.0 inches (4.267 meters) long, 3 feet, 4.0 inches (1.016 meters) in diameter and weighed 2,400 pounds (1,089 kilograms). (The second prototype, 46-066, was completed with J47 engines. 46-065 was later retrofitted with these engines.)

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet -065. (U.S. Air Force) 061024-F-1234S-004

The XB-47 prototype had a maximum speed of 502 knots (578 miles per hour/930 kilometers per hour/0.80 Mach) at 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). The combat speed was 462 knots (532 miles per hour/856 kilometers per hour/0.70 Mach) at 35,000 feet (10,668 meters). The prototype’s empty weight was 74,623 pounds (33,848 kilograms), while its maximum takeoff weight was 162,500 pounds (73,709 kilograms). It required a ground run of 11,900 feet (3,627 meters), or 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) with JATO assist. The bomber could climb at a rate of 3,650 feet per minute (18.5 meters per second) at Sea Level, at combat weight and maximum power. The service ceiling was 37,500 feet (11,430 meters). The XB-47 carried 9,957 gallons (37,691 liters) of fuel. The combat radius was 1,175 nautical miles (1,352 statute miles/2,176 kilometers) with a 10,000 pound (4,536 kilogram) bomb load.

Planned armament (though the XB-47s were delivered without it) consisted of two .50-caliber machine guns in a tail turret, with 1,200 rounds of ammunition, and 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) of bombs.

Boeing XB-47 Stratojet 46-065, the first of two prototypes, on the ramp at Boeing Field, Seattle, 1 December 1947. (U.S. Air Force)

The Stratojet was one of the most influential aircraft designs of all time and its legacy can be seen in almost every jet airliner built since the 1950s: the swept wing with engines suspended on pylons, , mounted forward of the leading edge.

2,032 B-47s were built by Boeing Wichita, Douglas Tulsa and Lockheed Marietta. They served the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1977.

The very last B-47 flight took place 18 June 1986 when B-47E-25-DT, serial number 52-166, was flown from the Naval Air Weapons Center China Lake to Castle Air Force Base to be placed on static display.

Right rear quarter view of Boeing XB-47 Stratojet 46-065. (U.S. Air Force)

XB-47 45-065 stalled while landing at Larson Air Force Base, near Moses Lake, Washington, 18 August 1951. The crew of three escaped uninjured. The airplane was damaged beyond repair. The second prototype, XB-47 46-066, is in the collection of the Air Force Flight Test Museum, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

¹ See This Day in Aviation for 26 January 1946 at: https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/26-january-1946/

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes