Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger


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Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger

In 1940 the solution to German U-boats off the US east coast was deemed to be giant long-range flying-boat bombers. Boeing was the obvious builder with its track record of the prewar "Clipper" airliners and the Navy ordered 57 to start with. Boeing built a whole new plant at Renton by Lake Washington to build the Sea Ranger. The XPBB-1 prototype flew in July 1942 and was the largest twin-engined aircraft built to date, but the experiences of the Pacific War saw the War Department completely revise its strategy in favour of land-based bombers. The Sea Ranger programme was cancelled and the Renton plant was swapped with the army for one in Kansas. Renton subsequently built over 1000 B-29s and later C-135 jet tanker/transports and 707 airliners. The solitary Sea Ranger never flew a combat mission before it was mothballed and scrapped.

Jim Winchester "The World's Worst Aircraft", 2005


Surprisingly for such a large flying boat, the XPBB was twin-engined. Defensive armament was only four machine guns but the bomb load was greater than a B-29's.

The XPBB-1 s wing was based on that of the B-29 Superfortress. Some of rhe aerodynamics were inherited from Boeing's Model 314 Clipper.

Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger

There was a plan to use special barges to catapult launch the Sea Ranger so as to increase the already long range, but this was never tested.

Boeing XPBB-1 Sea RangerA three-view drawing (800 x 361)

 ENGINE2 x 2300hp Wright R-3350-8 piston engines
  Take-off weight45872 kg101131 lb
  Wingspan42.58 m140 ft 8 in
  Length28.88 m95 ft 9 in
  Height10.40 m34 ft 1 in
  Max. speed348 km/h216 mph

Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger

David S., e-mail, 05.03.2021 22:09

I have what may be a pilots seat from the XPBB-1. I am looking for a flight deck photo to compare.


Klaatu83, e-mail, 05.02.2016 03:51

Only one of these was ever built so, inevitably, it became known as "The Lone Ranger". There were several reasons for that. First, the Navy decided they didn't need a flying boat bomber in this catagory after all. Second, Boeing's facilities, and their Renton, Washington plant in particular, were required for the B-29 development program. Third, the Wright R-3350 engines, which powered the Sea Ranger, were also required for the B-29, which took priority.


Michael Moore, e-mail, 10.04.2015 01:27

Correction on previous e-mail. Should be Crew Chief while serving in the Strategic Air Command, 1955 to 1963.


Michael Moore, e-mail, 10.04.2015 01:13

Beautiful aircraft. If possible I would like to have a picture of the two shown on this page. 10 x 8 or 7 x 5. I will pay for the cost. I am very familar with Boeing aircraft. I was a chief on the B-47E and KC-135. Kind Regards, Michael


David S., e-mail, 10.03.2021 Michael Moore

Boeing sent me a photo of the flight deck


Joshua Crooker, e-mail, 07.03.2014 19:12

By the way, I could also use some information on the PB2Y, thanks.


Rob Milford, e-mail, 02.12.2010 03:46

Bob Robbins was the prime test co-pilot for this a /c, told me many times of the Navy delivery flight. The Navy Captain came in, Bob told him to sit in the left seat, and he flew from there, since Bob didn't have any left seat time! Bob allowed that there was one ofther issue: This used the same engine as a B-29, and the big bird needed 'em more. And, it ended up being called the "Lone Ranger" since it was 'one of as kind'. Never saw the color pic above..very nice!


David S., e-mail, 10.03.2021 Rob Milford

Are you still around?


steve, e-mail, 28.11.2008 15:28

With a max range of 6300 miles @ 158 mph, a incredible flight duration of nearly 40hrs, was this potentially the longest flight duration of a standard production aircraft, a world record possibly


Jim Medley, e-mail, 27.05.2008 03:12

This plane looks a lot like a USN ASW plane flown by VP 49 out of Burmuda during Cuban crises. It was called the P5M Marlin. If you have info please email to


Cass Phillips, e-mail, 26.04.2008 04:13

The hull of this plane looks a lot like the PBM.


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