By Alwyn T. Lloyd
Element & Scale Vol.10: B-29 Superfortress (Part 1)
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Extra resources for B-29 Superfortress in Detail and Scale
60-caliber guns protruded about three feet beyond it. They looked like Kentucky long rifles. I hoped they were as accurate as those frontier weapons were reputed to be. After being checked out on the operation of the gun switches and recorder cameras, I went back to base operations to file a clearance for the flight back to Eglin and bumped into Barney Turner, who had been at Wright Field for several days on another project. He was walking out to the P-38 with me when we met another pilot just returning from a flight, carrying his parachute back into operations.
I returned to the field and found that landing the P-59 was quite easy because of its wide gear and large flaps. Because of its poor performance, only a small number were built, and they were used to initiate pilots into the mysteries of jet flying. Nevertheless, I was proud to have flown the first American jet. I was now officially a jet pilot, which gave me a sense of accomplishment even though it wasn't much of a thrill. The real excitement came about six months later when I checked out in the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, the AAF's first operational jet fighter.
That was well within my capabilities, so I put my hands in my lap and watched him closely. We took off and climbed toward the gunnery range over the Gulf. It was much quieter and smoother than the B-25 I'd ridden in while in China. He set it on course roughly paralleling the beach, and the tow-reel operator reeled out the target. He then told me to take the controls and hold it on course. When we got to the end of the range he took the controls, made a 180-degree turn, then gave it back to me.
B-29 Superfortress in Detail and Scale by Alwyn T. Lloyd