The Boeing B-29 Superfortress
was produced in a large number of experimental
and production models.
- Section source: Baugher
, Boeing Model 345, was the first accepted prototype
or experimental model delivered to the Army Air Corps
, incorporating a number of improvements on the design originally submitted, including more and larger guns and self-sealing fuel tanks
. Two aircraft were ordered in 1940 August, and a third was ordered in December. A mock-up
was completed in the spring of 1941, and it first flew on September 21, 1942.
Testing continued until February 18, 1943, when the first prototype crashed. Flown by Boeing
's chief test pilot, Edmund T. "Eddie" Allen
on a two-hour powerplant
performance test, leaking fuel from a filler cap in the leading edge ran down inside the leading-edge and ignited spreading to the engines, due to the much reduced power the aircraft, unable to climb, crashed into the Frye meat-packing plant, demolishing the majority of the packing plant and killing all eleven crew, 22 employees at the plant and one fireman. The crash killed many élite Boeing personnel involved in the design; the pilot, Allen, was chief of the Research Division. After the crash, the United States Army Air Forces
and a congressional
committee headed by then-Senator Harry S. Truman
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