In 1943, the U.S. Army Air Forces initiated the requirement for a jet bomber. However, the design of the B-47 was not finalized until after World War II when access to German research on high-speed aircraft became available. This marked the B-47 as the world's first all-jet bomber. Production spanned from 1947 to 1957, resulting in the construction of over two thousand Stratojets. In the early 1960s, several B-47E models underwent conversion for electronic intelligence-gathering purposes. This involved the installation of additional antennas on the aircraft and a specially designed "capsule" in the bomb bay, carrying extra equipment to monitor radar and radio signals, along with accommodating two additional crew members.
MARTIN 404 SKYLINER
Mr. Marvin Janzen, 1975
The Martin 404 represents a significant advancement over its visually similar predecessor, the Martin 202. The earlier model faced various issues, with the most critical being a wing design flaw that posed a risk of mid-flight wing breakage. The Martin 404 addressed and rectified this flaw, introducing cabin pressurization to enhance passenger comfort during higher-altitude flights. Its inaugural flight took place in 1950, and over 100 units found buyers, including Eastern Airlines, Trans World Airlines, the U.S. Coast Guard, and even one purchased by Howard Hughes. Some of these Martin airliners remained operational well into the 1980s, serving smaller airlines and private owners.
BOEING KC-97G STRATOFREIGHTER
9th Strategic Aerospace Wing, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
The Boeing C-97 originated in response to a U.S. Army Air Forces request for a transport aircraft derived from the B-29. Utilizing the B-29's landing gear, wings, and tail, Boeing adapted them for a unique "double bubble" pressurized fuselage, resulting in the C-97. First taking flight in 1945, the C-97 demonstrated remarkable success and versatility. Boeing subsequently made slight modifications to the design, giving rise to their inaugural post-war airliner, the Boeing 377.In 1950, Boeing commenced the development of an aerial refueling tanker variant of the C-97, equipped with Boeing-designed flying boom refueling technology. The first KC-97A was delivered in 1951, marking the inception of this role. The most produced tanker iteration, the KC-97G Stratofreighter, featured a distinct external modification — the addition of two fixed fuel tanks to the wings. Combined with internal fuel tank rearrangements, this adaptation allowed the aircraft to seamlessly function as both a tanker and a transport without the need for further modification.
North American PBJ Mitchell
Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing
The North American PBJ Mitchell, named Semper Fi, holds a significant place in aviation history as the only original flying PBJ in the world. Operated by the Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing, Semper Fi underwent an extensive 23-year restoration effort before returning to flight in 2016. Originally utilized by the Marine Corps during World War II, the PBJ Mitchell played a crucial role as a patrol bomber in the South Pacific theater. Semper Fi's restoration involved meticulous attention to detail, aiming to return the aircraft to its authentic WWII configuration.