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One of the biggest headaches for the USAF’s B-29 Super Fortress was the reliability of it’s four Wright R-3350 Cyclone Radial Engines.
While the engine had performed extremely well in the B-17, the B-29 Super Fortress was considerably larger and heavier than its predecessor and pilots often found themselves struggling to build up airspeed after takeoff. Its four radial engines needed airflow to keep them cool and failure to gain enough airspeed quickly would often result in engine failure or fire.
As the first fully pressurised, high-altitude USAF heavy bomber, the B-29 was already pushing the envelope in aircraft design upon its introduction in mid 1944.
Boeing’s designers knew its engines were somewhat underpowered and had begun work on the more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-43560 ‘Wasp Majors’ but their production was plagued by problems and did not become available until after the Japanese surrender in 1945.
As an interim measure, Boeing designers, attached cuffs to the propellers to divert greater airflow to the intakes and the oil flow to the valves was also increased but the stresses on the engines still required the replacement of the upper five cylinders of each engine every 25 hrs of run time with the entire engine replaced after only 75 hrs.
Unlike the B-17, the B-29 had an extensive Flight Engineer’s station located just behind the pilot where all flight and engine gauges were housed in a large floor to ceiling bulkhead along with engine throttles and fuel mix controls. Some of these gauges were repeated on the pilot’s main flying instrument panel such as the engine RPM gauges and Manifold Temperature Indicators and it was the flight engineer who monitored and adjusted the aircraft’s engine performance throughout the mission.
The B-29 pilot’s two RMP gauges sat side by side on his main instrument panel, just below the Manifold Pressure gauges with the left hand gauge monitoring the Port No 1 & 2 engines and the right, the Starboard No 3 & 4 engines. Sister gauges were also mounted on the Flight Engineer’s panel.
Early USAF RMP gauges were mainly mechanical tachometers mounted to the instrument panel with a direct flexible drive cable to the engine's tachometer drive. Later models, such as gauge featured here, were electrical remote indicators connected electrically to a generator or autosyn transmitter attached to the engine’s tachometer drive.
Produced by the Chicago Flexible Shaft Co, this AN5530 - 2A Electric Tachometer monitored the starboard 3 and 4 engines of the B-17 and is dated 1945 with additional service stamps on the rear of the unit. The face glass is relatively unmarked and the unit is in remarkable condition for a gauge over 75 years old.
Mounted in its 100yr old mango Wood Display Stand with engraved plaque, printed and laminated Fact Sheet and an incredible detailed 1/72 scale model of the B-29 perched atop its removable magnetic arm, this Recovery Curios WWII B-29 flight instrument display would make a fantastic gift for any aviation enthusiast.
This B-29 Super Fortress Instrument comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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Your B-29 Super Fortress Duel Engine RPM Gauge, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Original Warbird instrument
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft.
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
The 1/72 scale hand-built and airbrushed plastic model is available with 'wheels & flaps up or down' and 'canopy open or closed' options with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.
Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 3 - 4 weeks approx.
Did you fly, crew or maintain a B-29 Super Fortress or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.