Boeing B-50
Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  BOMBERVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Boeing  

Boeing B-50

The B-50's development was approved in 1944, when the aircraft was known as the B-29D. Still in the midst of war, the Army Air Forces (AAF) wanted a significantly improved B-29 that could carry heavy loads of conventional weapons faster and farther. As World War II ended, the production of thousands of B-29s was canceled. The B-29D survived, but its purpose was changed. Redesignated as the B-50 in December 1945, the improved bomber was now earmarked for the atomic role. The decision was prompted by the uncertain fate of Convair B-36, the first long-range, heavy bomber produced as an atomic carrier. Of course, some of the B-29s that had been modified to carry the atomic bomb remained available, and surplus B-29s were being reconfigured for the atomic task. Just the same, the B-29s of war vintage were nearly obsolete. Hence, they would have to be replaced by a more efficient, atomic-capable bomber pending availability of the intercontinental B-36 or of another bomber truly suitable for the delivery of atomic weaponry.

While the short-range B-50 was immediately recognized as a stopgap measure, the magnitude of the aircraft's development problems proved unexpected. The B-50's first difficulties stemmed from its bomb bay which, like that of the B-29, was too small to house the new bomb and its required components. The fast development of special weapons created more complications, since the individual components of every single type of bomb had to be relocated within the bomb bay's narrow confines.

In keeping with the usual vicissitudes accompanying the development of any new or improved aircraft, the B-50 soon exhibited engine malfunctions. Then, cracking of the metal skin on the trailing edge of the wings and flaps dictated extensive modifications. And while these problems were being resolved, new requirements were levied on the aircraft. In 1949, as the proposed RB-36 remained a long way off, and because of the older RB-29's deficiencies in speed, range, and altitude, some B-50s had to be fitted for the reconnaissance role. To make matters worse, fuel tank overflows, leaking fuel check valves, failures of the engine turbo-chargers, generator defects, and the like continued to plague every B-50 version.

Meanwhile, contrary to plans, most B-50s came off the production lines without the receiver end of the new air-to-air refueling system being developed by Boeing. Additional, and successful, modifications therefore ensued. Nevertheless, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) had no illusions. The B-50, along with the B-36 (first delivered in June 1948), would be obsolete in 1951. That the B-50 did not start leaving the SAC inventory before 1953 was due to the production problems and many modifications of its replacement: the subsonic B-47.

Boeing B-50DA three-view drawing of Boeing B-50D (582 x 774)

 ENGINE4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp Major, 2610kW
    Take-off weight76389 kg168410 lb
    Empty weight36764 kg81051 lb
    Wingspan43.05 m141 ft 3 in
    Length30.18 m99 ft 0 in
    Height9.96 m33 ft 8 in
    Wing area161.55 m21738.91 sq ft
    Max. speed620 km/h385 mph
    Cruise speed378 km/h235 mph
    Ceiling11280 m37000 ft
    Range7483 km4650 miles
 ARMAMENT12 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 1 x 20mm cannon, 9000kg of bombs

Boeing B-50

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120
Jack Allen, 13.09.2010

I was a boom operator at Langley AFB on the KB29s from 1955 to 1957 with 429th air refueling sq.
1957 to 1959 At turner AFB with the 431ST air refueling sq.
on the KB29s then a reel op. on the KB50s
I looking for pictures of the KB 29s any help would be appreciated

Emory Hess, 13.09.2010

The email address for Boyd M. Fry is not a working email address. I haven't been able to send him information on the B50. I was a gunner on the crew his Dad was on. I had flown an earlier mission for another gunner. My best friend flew that mission for me and died when he bailed out. We were good friends of your Dad and Mom, Dave and Georgia. We played cards almost every week. Please contact me for any information you need or want to talk about.
Respectfully, Emory Hess

Merle H. Angell, 06.09.2010

I was crew chief on several TB-50's at Mather from 1952 to 1955 when they were being sent to Arizona for future lawn furniture. My Squadron was 72nd. The 50 was a great bird and will never forget the Take Off Roll in those day. My ship was 48-052. I also took delivery of the last prop bomber made by Boeing, an H model TB-50 S/N 51=470

John Christy, 30.08.2010

I was a tail gunner on the B-50 at Castle Field during 1950
-1952. We went tdy to Lakenheath, England 1951-1952
It was a beautiful plane and operated by great crewmembers.
Commanders Batson, Lovell and Gibson plus Ed Fleck, Hugo Werner, J.Lambert, Robert love and Anthony Novak. We had a wonderfu Co-Pilot, but his name slips me. I spent roughly 19 years in the Air Force and my time with the 329th Bomb Squadron at Castle was the best.

Paul O'Brien, 26.08.2010

I was in 96th bomb squadren 2nd AF, Hunter AFB Savanah,GA. from 1951 thru Sept. 1953. I have a comment left back in January,2010. Am still looking to hear from someone that was also there back then. I have a new e-mail address as listed above.

Briana, 14.08.2010

sorry, correction not John Ward, but Charles Ward. Sorry.

Briana, 14.08.2010

I am looking for a John Ward that was in the airforce and worked at Mcdonnell Douglas. I have been searching to find him. John dated my mother Marion Fererro in approx. 1964, and they lost contact with one another. He has a daughter he never knew that my mother was pregnant. Pls. email me if anyone can help me find the right John Ward. My sister has been looking for her father. My mother lived in St. Louis, MO. and was in the airforce. Thank You for your time. Briana

Marie Hess, 13.08.2010

I visit a gentleman named Homer Davis. He is 91 years old now. He was a pilot on a B50. I'm not sure where he was stationed. Does anyone know him? His biggest thrill in life was flying. I am sure he would love to here from someone who knew him. If you do please e-mail me or call me. my number is 410-830-9636. Thanks

Marie Hess, 13.08.2010

I visit a gentleman named Homer Davis. He is 91 years old now. He was a pilot on a B50. I'm not sure where he was stationed. Does anyone know him? His biggest thrill in life was flying. I am sure he would love to here from someone who knew him. If you do please e-mail me or call me. my number is 410-830-9636. Thanks

Oakley Baker, 30.07.2010

Gunner on RB50E&F in 6091 Recon Yokota AB, 1960 61 AC Bob Schubert $ Shadrick M H Waugh.

Jim Whalen, 27.07.2010

My Sq. was the 55th P.M.SQ. at Ramey AFB, Forbes AFB, Mildenhal RAFB England. 1951-1954 We put some long hours on the 4360 engs in England. You could change up to 7 before the eng. had to be changed. Anyone remeber me or the Periodic Maintenance Sq., drop me a line

Bill Simpkins, 24.07.2010

I would like to chat with anyone that flew B50's at of Hunter AFB in l950 - 51. I was in the 96th Bomb Squadron. My crew was #9. My AC was Joe Lawton. He was as good as their was. If anyone knows of Keith Major (that was he name, not his rank) I would like to hear of this very knowledgeable engineer. Like all other crews at Hunter at that time, we rotated to Bassingboune in England. Here is a little chuckle we had. On TDY to Goose Bay we flew ov the Artic Circle and the navigator said somethink like this: "We are now over the Artic Circle. You can see it if you look down. It is the blue broken line." Sure, we all looked. I would like to hear from any B50 gunner - or rather any remote control turret operator. We can relive those days at Tybee Beach.

Marijane, 08.07.2010

My dad, Wendell R. Buck was with the 93rd Bomb Wing, 330th Squadron at Castle AFB. He flew B-50s and B-52s. He also became a B-50 flight instructor. He was a pilot during WWII and flew a B-24 called Rebel Gal. Later, he flew during the Berlin Airlift and was part of the 12th Troop Carrier Squadron. If anyone knew my dad, I'd love to hear from you.

Ray A. Gandy Sr., 20.06.2010

I was a HUN Eng. spec. at England AFB 1958-61 Caught a HOP on a KB50J to George AFB for 30 day leave home to Rosemead Ca.Was pretty well hungover when i boarded, flew left bubble, was a pretty rough go with that hangover but wouldnt trade the experience, many memories concerning the 622nd and Kb50js, palled around with three of their mechanics, A/2C Larry Sutton,A2C Henry Watkins & A/2C Bruce Gantt, am in contact with Bruce and would sure like to hear from Scag & Sparrow!!

john mc neill, 17.06.2010

was #2 engine man on 050 at Mather 1951-1953...we had 11 (?)radar training aircraft at MHR...My cc was msgt stanek
any one remember this?

Esther, 23.05.2010

My Grandfather was at Castle AFB in 1951, with the 93rd maintenance unit. I just found a group photo, which got me to looking, which brought me here. I see there are a couple of you who were there at the same and just wondered if you knew him. His name was Joe Cottrell. The email links here don't seem to work, so my email is I'd love to hear from anyone who may remember him!

Bud Winnett, 11.04.2010

I first met the B-50D Oct 1951 when I was assigned to the 330th Bomb Sqdn, 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle AFB. Stayed with her till the fazed them out in 1954 for the B-47. Was and Engine specialist but also flew with it as needed. Of all the A/C I have worked on and flown on she was and is myt favaorite. Re the comment from a Pilot earlier, in the 3 1/2 years I flew on then, I do not recall ever having engine failure. Not to say the did not happen, as we all know they did,but not THAT often.

ed fleck, 06.04.2010

I was a B50D flight engineer with the 329th Bomb Sqdn.,93rd Bomb Group, Castle AFB,CA from summer 1949 to summer 1954.
Next,1954 to 1955, TB50 flight engineer instructor at Mather AFB, CA.
For those who may not know, the TB50 was a stripped down B50 with the "K" radar system, used for training B47 radar bombardier navigators. On those flights, I would train two navigator students the flight engineer trade up front.
Next three years on the RC 121 Super Connie at McClellan AFB, CA. When enlistment was up, re-upped in the 55th Weather Reccon. at McClellan to get back on a real airplane, the WB 50.
Next, 1958-1962, WB50's at McClellan, Kindley Field Bermuda, Tinker AFB, OK. Retired, joined up with Air America, flew DC6 and Boeing 727's with them.
I'm presently volunteering as "honorary crew chief" at the Castle Air Museum, Atwater CA, on WB50 490351 there. I help maintain the interior of the plane and serve as guide to the visitors on "Open Cockpit Day".
The planes are open to the public Memorial Day Weekend and one other day, usually in the Fall. Check the Museum website fo the schedule. I will be available to answer your questions, anytime, if I can, at 707 448-3987, or at I'll be glad to hear from you.

Carl Bud Kiesgen, 03.04.2010

Here is my e-mail address, "Thank You ", Carl "Bud" Kiesgen 20th. Bomb Sqdn, 2nd. Air Force, Hunter A.F. B. Savannah, Ga. 1952 to 54 (See artcle below.)

Bud Kiesgen, 18.03.2010

I was the right blister gunner on Capt. Wm. D. Brennan's B-50D crew. We were stationed at Hunter A.F. Base, Savannah, Ga. We were in the 2nd. Air Force 20th Bomb Sqdn. We flew to Upper Hayford RAF base near Bristol England TDY once a year for 90 days. Anyone out there from the 2oth. Bomb Sqdn ?. Signed, Carl Bud Kiesgen from Saint Clair Shores, MIchigan

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120

Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -