Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tires of a B-29 Superfortress

B-29 nose gear comes to rest on the Eastern Iowa airport tarmac in Cedar Rapids last week (see previous posts.) Nicknamed Fifi, this B-29 is the only flying Superfortress remaining worldwide. Fifi spends months each year touring the USA. That means lots of flying cycles (take off and landings) with wear and tear on all six tires supporting the WWII bomber. These nose tires display more traction grabbing characteristics employing a diamond pattern tread compared to the four tires supporting the wings.

On Fifi's port side two tires support engines and wing. This inner tire has no pattern tread, just long smooth grooves - probably for stability. Four of these tires support the plane, two each side of the fuselage. Boeing engineers during the 1940s correctly calculated the design of the long range bomber's landing gear. That attention to engineering and manufacturing details allow this last flyable B-29 to demonstrate its American aviation heritage some 67 years after being placed into service.

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