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Pacific Aero Press Books


B-29 Tail Turret

B-29 Tail Gunner Compartment Under Construction

A "Rosie the Riveteer" installs one of five armor glass windows in the tail gunner's compartment. These sections were built at Boeing's Hoquiam, Washington-facility.

Photo courtesy Boeing Historical Archives. Boeing Photo P5602.

B-29 Tail Gunner Compartment Upon Arrival

This B-29 tail gunner's compartment has been on an incredible journey. This came from one of the China Lake B-29s, and was cut up by Mobile Smelters, who had an operation in Mojave, Calif.
In 1980, aircraft restorer Gary Larkins bought this and many other parts from Mobile Smelters for $35 a trailer load. Mobile Smelters could not run the turrets through their scrapping process, and was more than happy to see the turrets hauled off. This B-29 tail gunner's compartment sat at Ralph Ponte's operation in Grass Valley until acquired by the Lone Star Flight Museum in the early 1990s. Lone Star got a number of turrets, including the Erco 250TH side blister turrets for its PB4Y-2 restoration.
I then traded with the Lone Star Flight Museum to obtain this turret. From the oxygen installation, I have determined that this tail gunner's compartment was built at Boeing Wichita. My good friend Ted Holgerson was kind enough to uncrate the turret and provide this temporary stand. After getting the turret home, I acquired the escape hatch, which really completes the look. I'll be posting updated photos soon. I also have two other B-29 tail gunner's compartments available for trade. E-mail me if you're interested.

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