Model Airplane News
October, 1951

Model Airplane News Cover for October, 1951 by Jo Kotula Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Boeing B-50 "Superfortress"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for October, 1951
by Jo Kotula
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The Boeing B-50 Superfortress was a post-World War II revision of the wartime United States B-29 Superfortress with larger engines, a taller vertical stabilizer, and other improvements.

 The Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Difference betweeb Boeing B-50 and the B-29
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The B-50 program began life as the XB-44 Superfortress. In 1944, one B-29A was modified by Pratt & Whitney to accept the larger engines; due to other structural changes that were necessary to address the increased power, weight and fuel consumption, it was decided to change its military designation to a new model, the B-50 Superfortress. This was also helpful in the post WWII environment in which the B-29 had become dangerously obsolescent given the advent of jet fighters. The B-50 was nicknamed "Andy Gump" because the redesigned engine nacelles reminded aircrew of the chinless newspaper comic character popular at the time.

With in flight refueling, the Lucky Lady II became the first airplane to circle the world nonstop. This demonstrated the capability of the B-50 to deliver nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.

 The Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Boeing B-50 "Superfortress"
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The M.A.N. Cover for October, 1951 shows examples of the B-50 from the Fifteenth Air Force as it was being transformed into the Strategic Air Command. The tail insignia (Letter "K" inside a circle) was the hallmark of aircraft with the role of delivering nuclear weapons at great distances. For a time, the "Circle K" group was based in England for rapid deep penetration into the Soviet Union. The B-54 was the nation's principal strategic bomber from 1948-1954. A total of 371 were built. All B-50s were grounded and removed completely from inventory when wreckage of a KB-50 that broke up in flight in 1965 revealed corrosion problems in the fleet.

Click here a video of the tanker version of the Boeing B-50 (the KB-50 refueling fighters:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 081 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Trading card representation of the Boeing B-50 "Superfortress"
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Boeing B-50 "Superfortress".

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