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Home > Fact Sheets > Boeing B-50A "Lucky Lady II"


Posted 7/7/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Boeing B-50A
Boeing B-50A "Lucky Lady II" of the 43rd Bomb Group, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The first nonstop around-the-world flight was accomplished by B-50A-5-BO (S/N 46-010) Lucky Lady II assigned to the 43rd Bomb Group. The flight which lasted from Feb. 26 to March 2, 1949, took 94 hours, 1 minute to complete.

About two-thirds of the B-50As were modified as receiver aircraft for an in-flight refueling technique developed by the British. The fuel delivery aircraft (KB-29M) would fly above and forward of the receiver aircraft (B-50A) and unreel a long refueling hose. The crew of the B-50A would extend an apparatus from the rear of the aircraft designed to snag the refueling hose trailing behind the KB-50M. Once the fuel hose was captured, it was reeled into the B-50A where the crew connected it to the refueling manifold. Once the fuel transfer was complete, the hose was released and the KB-29M reeled in back.

The Lucky Lady II flew a route covering 23,452 miles and required numerous in-flight refuelings. The 43rd Air Refueling Squadron supplied four pairs of KB-29M tankers for refueling, making it possible for the Lucky Lady II to complete the round-the-world flight nonstop. Although this early type of in-flight refueling was quickly replaced by more efficient methods, the around-the-world flight was proof that the USAF was capable of projecting air power anywhere in the world. The Cold War had started and the United States, Great Britain and France were in the middle of the Berlin Airlift, which started in June 1948 and lasted until September 1949.

Type Number built/
B-50A 79 B-29D renamed B-50A

TECHNICAL NOTES (standard B-50A):
Armament: 12 .50-cal. machine guns, one 20 mm cannon and 20,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 Wasp Major turbosupercharged radials of 3,500 hp each
Maximum speed: 385 mph at 25,000 ft. and combat weight of 121,700 lbs.
Cruising speed: 235 mph
Range: 4,650 miles with 10,000-lb. bomb load; 5,270 miles max. ferry range
Service ceiling: 37,000 ft.
Span: 141 ft. 3 in.
99 ft. 0 in.
Height: 32 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 168,500 lbs. (maximum takeoff weight)
Crew: 10 or 11 normally [pilot, copilot, flight engineer, navigator, bombardier, radar operator, radio operator, and four gunners (top, tail, left and right)]
Serial number: 46-010 (B-50A-5-BO Lucky Lady II)

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