Crew # 555

Crew # 555
Crew # 555 - planes flown: DAMIFINO , DIXIE, LET ER RIP, TIMES A WASTIN

1st. LT. J. William Smith

1st. LT. J. William Smith

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Consolidated B-24 Heavy Bomber

Cut away diagram of B-24 fuselage

While a workhorse of the Allied bombing effort, the B-24 was not hugely popular with American air crews who preferred the more rugged B-17. Among the issues with the B-24 was its inability to sustain heavy damage and remain aloft. The wings in particular proved vulnerable to enemy fire and if hit in critical areas could give way completely. It was not uncommon to see a B-24 falling from the sky with its wings folded upwards like a butterfly. Also, the aircraft proved highly susceptible to fires as many of the fuel tanks were mounted in the upper parts of the fuselage. In addition, crews nicknamed the B-24 the "Flying Coffin" as it possessed only one exit which was located near the tail of the aircraft. This made it difficult to impossible for the flight crew to escape a crippled B-24.

I had the opportunity to tour through this particular B-24 a few years ago in Carlsbad CA. I think the Collings Foundation operates this aircraft and a B-17 which was also present that day. The B-24 interior is a lot smaller than it looks from the outside. Figure 10 crewmen and a load of bombs and things are pretty cramped. The Navigator / Bombardier position are very cramped into one small space. Dad flew most missions without a bombardier and he performed that task along with navigating. They would normally follow a lead aircraft and would drop their bomb loads when the lead plane dropped theirs'.

I've read that there is only one flying B-24 left but this one is definitely a different one from the Collings aircraft. These photos were pulled from various sites on the Web.

1 comment:

  1. Your picture of the B-24 is the one from the Collings foundatio.
    They changed the paint scheme a couple years back.
    The commemorative air force does have a flying B-24.
    It has a brownish cream paint scheme.