Douglas XB-19
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Douglas XB-19

The Douglas XB-19 was originally designated XBLR-2 (eXperimental Bomber Long-Range 2) and was the largest bomber built for the Army up to that time (1938).

Douglas XB-19

The XB-19 was essentially used as a test bed for very large bomber construction techniques and flight characteristics. The Douglas Aircraft Company actually wanted to cancel the project because of the expense and extended construction time which made the aircraft obsolete before it ever flew. However, the Army Air Corps insisted the aircraft be completed for test use.

The XB-19's first flight was 27 June 1941, more than 3 years after the construction contract was awarded. In 1943, the original radial engines were replaced by Allison V-3420 in-line engines and the aircraft was redesignated XB-19A. After testing was completed, the XB-19A was used as a cargo/transport aircraft until 1949 when it was scrapped.

Douglas XB-19A three-view drawing (605 x 713)

 ENGINE4 x 2000hp
    Take-off weight73467 kg161968 lb
    Wingspan64.62 m212 ft 0 in
    Length40.23 m132 ft 0 in
    Height13.03 m43 ft 9 in
    Max. speed360 km/h224 mph
    Ceiling7015 m23000 ft
    Range8372 km5202 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 37mm cannon, 5 x 12.7mm + 6 x 7.62mm machine-guns , 16330kg of bombs

Douglas XB-19

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
Lloyd Hitt, e-mail, 01.10.2017reply

My father, Bill Hitt, was asst. chief inspector at the Santa Monica plant. He took my cousin.Lorin Heath and I to see the B-19 take off for the first time as we watched from the west end of the runway.

Dean, e-mail, 06.12.2016reply

I found on the net that the Hydromatic propellers for the B-19 were made by Hamilton Standard of Windsor Locks Conn.

Robert Munsey, e-mail, 24.05.2016reply

I have read that due to the size of the mail gear it was planned to change from the very large wheels and tires to do as done later and use multiple smaller wheels. The cost of the originals was very great. I remember reading that the orginally scheduled test pilot backed out as the escape hatch was too far from the front seat and Army Major the became the test pilot.

emerson gamble, e-mail, 25.03.2015reply

The B19 was stationed at Patterson Field and was in Air Dock 2.newspapers on the base and was barred from the hanger for
several weeks. Later I was allowed to go into the hanger but with some restrictions. In the early 1980s I was in Texas tocheck on the construction of a Hush House located on Kelly AFB and I heard this airplane and I knew that noise could only be the B19. I pulled off the highway and the B19 flew over me. The evening paper reported that it was on its way to the scrap yard. Ken Bloomhurst wasn'tkidding when he said the dishes rattled on the shelves. We lived inside the landing pattern so we didn't get the same reaction.Old school buddy was telling the truth about the dishes rattling.

Terry Applegate, e-mail, 31.01.2015reply

I believe the maiden flight, not a test flight, of the B-19 was from California to Dayton, Ohio. I was with my family at the Dayton airport when it landed. My uncle, Edward F. Harbison, was chief inspector for Douglas and gave the final approval for the first flight. Uncle Ed is my mother's brother. I have an envelope addressed to me that is postmarked and was carried on the maiden flight to Dayton. I was 10 then and lived in Dayton. Ed Harbison is pictured in Life and/or Look magazine aboard the B-19 on it's maiden flight. A wheel from the B-19 was saved after the plane was scrapped and was on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

John Gray, e-mail, 15.11.2014reply

This is only to thank all of you though most of you are gone and sadly forgotten by all except for your loved ones.
My mother and sister-in- law worked at Douglas during the war as riveters.
But I do remember seeing the Lockheed P-38 flying overhead during the war - what a sight that was to see!
Thanks to all.

David Stevenson, e-mail, 31.10.2014reply

The B-19A was at Tinker Field, Okla. for an open house just a few short weeks after VE Day. It had the Allison 3420 engines. It was at that event I first saw a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. Both impressive aircraft!

William Zempel, e-mail, 26.08.2014reply

When the B19 arrived at March Field in the summer of 1941 my father somehow arranged to take me on to the base to see it. I was just about to turn 11 years old. I was awed by the size of the plane, but what really got me was the size of the wheels. About 10 years ago my wife and I were visiting the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson, and much to my surprise, I saw a huge wheel which I immediately recognized as from the B19.

John Howell, e-mail, 13.05.2014reply

I was with my mom,dad and my brother Don when I saw the B-19 fly over the San Fernando Valley in about 1941. My dad heard about the plane.We lived not to far from Lockeed. The plane seemed to move very slowly across the sky because it was so large. I can still remember it very clearly as it was yesterday, I was 8 years old

Phil, e-mail, 10.05.2014reply

We lived in Los Angeles, about 4 miles south of downtown. When the B-19 made its first flight - I believe it was June 27, 1941 - it flew from Santa Monica to March Field in Riverside. Imagine the thrill this 11 year old got when the plane flew almost directly over our home. This plane had Wright R-3350's. There was another XB-19A with Allison V-3420 engines.

Richard Eaton, e-mail, 07.03.2014reply

My Great-Granddad was Maj. Stanley Umstead. The test pilot often seen with the cigar in his mouth. We still have a steering yoke from the B-19 in the family. I'll be thrilled to have it one day!

Ken Bloomhorst, e-mail, 16.01.2014reply

As a kid growing up. I lived between Wright Field and Patterson Field. I remember the B-19 flying around the area many times. It was the largest plane at that time. It went very slow, I don't know how it remained airborne. I can remember my Mother being unhappy, every time it flew over, all of the dishes rattled in the cabinets.

Anthony Muldoon, e-mail, 09.08.2013reply

So a group of people I'm helping to restor a B25 think they have two blades off the prop of the xb19 because of there size and brand (cant think of the name) but they can't find any information on the blades

Rick Houpt, e-mail, 18.04.2013reply

One of the others who commented mentioned a ltter delivered on that 1st flight. I just unearthed one of those letters that was written by an uncle who worked for Douglas during that first flight and sent to my father. Wonderful piece of aero history.

Ned Chestnut, e-mail, 16.02.2013reply

My father, C.E. Chestnut, worked on building the B-19. We lived in Santa Monica, and When I was about 4 I recall we were allowed to watch the craft take it's first flight. This was a BIG day for all involved all around. I think of that day quite often. I would like to hear from others who were there that day, not many of us left on earth.

Lorin Heath, e-mail, 09.01.2013reply

I was fortunate to see the original flight of the B-19 at Clover Field in Santa Monica. My Uncle was head of quality control for Douglas. His name was William C Hitt. He later started Automated Industries. He was a pioneer in Ultra Sound Testing for aircraft parts. (wing spars, etc.)

Fred Willis, e-mail, 22.09.2012reply

I went to work for Douglas in October of 1940 in the development tooling department and well remember the first day I walked into the Douglas “Big Hanger” that had been built for construction of the B19. There was this monster airplane well along in construction but not yet on landing gear. I remember the take-off from Clover Field and a short hitch when the Air Corps Major pilot over controlled lift off but quickly got it right. My drawing board was on a balcony over the DC-3 fuselage assembly jigs. On return from army in 1945 I was lucky enough to become the tool engineer on the development of the NIKE, SPARROW and CORPORAL missiles and the X3 airplane.

Tom Stroebe, e-mail, 06.04.2012reply

I received a letter from my Grandmother Helen B. Moody that was delivered on the B-19. The flight was from Clover Field, Santa Monica to San Francisco in 1941. I was 13 years old.....what a thrill

Jon Wagner, e-mail, 23.09.2011reply

I went to see the B-19 land at March AFB in 1941 with my grandfather and dad when I was 5 years old

J. Gravlin, e-mail, 21.05.2011reply

My father, Lester Gravlin, was a tool & dye designer for the B-19. In 1941 (I was 5)he took me to see the maiden flight.When they rolled it out of the hanger, it cracked the concrete and had to be put back until they could reinforce the runway. We went back when this had been done and saw the takeoff. It was huge.

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