Thursday, February 5, 2009
Image of the Day: Extremely rare 1941 image - XB-15
This extraordinary color shot, is extremely rare! It is a color photograph of the XB-15 experimental bomber, the project that led to the production of the B-17 Flying Fortress Aircraft. With a wingspan of 142ft this huge aircraft broke the altitude to weight record, lifting a 31,205-pound payload to 8,200 feet on July 30, 1939. Because the lone XB-15 was an experimental airplane, it did not serve as a bomber during World War II. The military converted it into a cargo carrier, designated the XC-105. On January 24,1939, a great earthquake devastated Chile. The U.S. responded by dispatching the XB-15 with 3,250 pounds of medical supplies via Panama and Lima, Peru, to Santiago-a 4,933-mile trip that was accomplished in 29 hours, 53 minute flying time. The XB-15 was converted to a cargo/transport plane after bomber testing was complete. A large cargo door was added to the aft fuselage and the XB-15 was redesignated XC-105 for wartime use! In service for eight years, the airplane carried more than 5,200 passengers, 440,000 pounds of cargo and 94,000 pounds of mail. It flew 70 cargo trips and 60 missions including antisubmarine patrol. An incredible plane that was finally dismantled at the San Antonio Air Depot in 1945 upon the cessation of hostilities.