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-   -   B17 or B29? - from a purely aesthetic perspective (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/639646-b17-b29-purely-aesthetic-perspective.html)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! 3rd Apr 2021 00:00

B17 or B29? - from a purely aesthetic perspective
For me it would be the B17 without a shadow of a doubt. It's such a beautiful aircraft. The B29 on the other hand looks like it was assembled overnight from pieces they found lying around. I never could warm to it - and I've seen both flying over Texas!

Obviously just a personal opinion, but how do others feel about the two?

treadigraph 3rd Apr 2021 07:53

I've always been quite drawn to the B-29 - I remember being so pleased to get a first - rather brief - glimpse of Hawg Wild at Duxford while driving past in a coach in 1980! Better still seeing Fifi flying at Midland 20 years later.

Incidentally, I was amazed to realise recently that I've seen all five B-29s that have flown under civil registrations - apart from the two above, a rather tatty Doc at Inyokern just after she was dragged out of China Lake, Tallichet's B-29 which is now preserved at March AFB, and the forward fuselage of Kermit's Fertile Myrtle at Tamiami - don't think the rest of it was there, if it was it was well hidden! Kee Bird doesn't count as it didn't fly!

I do like the B-17 as well...

Quemerford 3rd Apr 2021 08:33

Do you mean SAAB B17 (no hyphen) or Boeing B-17 (with a hyphen)?

treadigraph 3rd Apr 2021 08:50

I have a strong suspicion that a SAAB B17 has never flown in Texas; though of course we were lucky enough to have SE-BYH at Duxford once or twice.

Quemerford 3rd Apr 2021 10:31

No idea. But for sure if you say 'B17' you aren't talking about anything built in the US of A.

ex82watcher 3rd Apr 2021 14:29

Well,for what it's worth, I'll add another vote for the B-17.It's the hemispherical front end that puts me off the B-29,though I appreciate aesthetics weren't at the top of the list when it came to design requirements.

DaveReidUK 3rd Apr 2021 15:51

Originally Posted by Quemerford (Post 11021597)
No idea. But for sure if you say 'B17' you aren't talking about anything built in the US of A.

Unless you are using the (Boeing) B-17's ICAO Type Designator: "B17". :O

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! 3rd Apr 2021 16:53

Originally Posted by treadigraph (Post 11021511)
Kee Bird doesn't count as it didn't fly!

I saw the documentary about the Kee Bird. Very sad and I have to say the "recovery" team did not appear in a good light

...and yes WITH a hyphen then (sigh) :ugh:

tdracer 3rd Apr 2021 19:46

That Kee Bird Documentary was fascinating but heartbreaking to watch.
While I like the look of the B-29, there is something iconic about the B-17. Both are far better looking than the B-24 - it's just plain ugly.

rcsa 4th Apr 2021 05:21

I wonder if Joe Sutter was paying a little homage to the B-17 when he designed the 747?

DaveReidUK 4th Apr 2021 07:32

Well they both have 4 engines ... :O

Duchess_Driver 4th Apr 2021 07:49


but seriously, B-17 later models. The prototype tail was too thin and therefore out of proportion.

Less Hair 4th Apr 2021 08:03

At least the Soviet Union and China preferred the looks of the B-29 especially the looks of it's bomb bay.

Asturias56 4th Apr 2021 08:09

B29 every time

BEagle 4th Apr 2021 09:45

I was fortunate enough to have a good look round both the B-17 and B-29 at Houston during an 'airsho' once. The B-17 seemed much more primitive inside and would have been pretty cramped in the flight deck area with an upper turret fitted. Whereas the B-29 was more spacious, but I didn't try the crawlway! There was an interesting chart in the gunners' area which was an aid to diagnosing engine faults by the colour and volume of smoke! Was it a fire, supercharger failure, oil leak or what? The rear gunner's position in the B-17 was pretty tight, but must have been really tight for someone dressed in full flying kit!

The CAF were kind enough to allow me on board 'Fifi' during the engine starting sequence and would have taken me flying, but this wasn't long after the B-26 accident.

B-17 or B-29? Actually, for me it's the B-36! Before the jets were added, that is. A really huge aeroplane; Revell made a 1/72nd scale model of it and even that had a 38" wingspan!

treadigraph 4th Apr 2021 10:24

I had a look inside Kermit's B-17 when visiting Polk City. Climbing up through the aircraft from the rear door to the cockpit, I remember remarking to an American fellow visitor "what an incredibly cramped space to go to war in...". He agreed! For some reason "Memphis Belle" had given me an impression of quite a lot of room inside...

I've got 1/48 scale kits of most Allied WWII types which I might build one day - the B-29 has been "tape assembled" in the past and it is big! I believe there was a vacform 1/48 B-36... Friend has built a 1/48 C-133 which is... big enough...

ex82watcher 4th Apr 2021 10:59

One of the students on my ATCO cadet course went out to the US straight after the PPl phase,to do some cheap flying when there were $2.40 to the ,and while there was allowed to climb inside a B36,at Davis Monthan I think.Unfortunately,he was later 'chopped',and soon after,killed flying an Islander in Vanuatu.

pax britanica 4th Apr 2021 11:14

Any special reason as to why the B29 had the He 111 style nose. never a good look in my opinion.

I think nose aside the B29 is the better-looking plane , the B-17 with those 50cals poking out all over the place looks more warlike than the slender remote barbettes an the B29 clever as they were

Bergerie1 4th Apr 2021 18:31

Because the crew compartments were pressurised - one in the front and one in the tail joined by a runnel.

Rory57 4th Apr 2021 18:33

B-29 was pressurised and the hemispherical nose is the optimum shape to withstand the pressure within the cylindrical fuselage.
Almost all other pressurised aircraft have some sort of pointy-bit in front of their hemispherical part (pressure bulkhead) which disguises the gas-cylinder shape so obvious in the B-29.
I had an interesting look around Lucky Lady, the “ around the world” B-50 fuselage at Chino. Possible to stand in the bomb bay and look into the cockpit through the hatch in the rear cockpit pressure bulkhead where the tube connecting cockpit to the rear pressure bay had been.
Aesthetically? A draw for me.
B-17 still has something of the aviation golden-age about it. Style, glamour, comfort etc.
B-29 / B-50 looks every inch the modern weapon without compromise that it was.

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