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Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress cockpit view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress cockpit view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Boeing WB-50D Superfortress
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DAYTON, Ohio -- The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress interior view in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio - The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The Boeing WB-50D Superfortress on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- A Morse code key donated by Patricia Paytee on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- A Morse code key donated by Patricia Paytee on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Patricia Paytee and son Terence Paytee donated a Morse code key on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Museum Historian Dr. Doug Lantry accepted the donation on behalf of the museum. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Patricia Paytee and son Terence Paytee donated a Morse code key on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Museum Historian Dr. Doug Lantry accepted the donation on behalf of the museum. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Air Weather Reconnaissance Association Reunion on Sept. 29, 2016 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Boeing
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DAYTON, Ohio -- March 1972, KB-50J at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Contributed photo by Glenn Chatfield)

Boeing
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DAYTON, Ohio -- March 1972, Boeing WB-50D Superfortress at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Contributed photo by Glenn Chatfield)

Boeing
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DAYTON, Ohio -- July 1986, KB-50J at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Contributed photo by Glenn Chatfield)

Boeing
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DAYTON, Ohio -- July, 1986, Boeing WB-50D Superfortress at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Contributed photo by Glenn Chatfield)

The B-50, the last propeller-driven bomber delivered to the U.S. Air Force, made its initial flight on June 25, 1947. Basically an improved version of the B-29, this aircraft's large number of modifications caused its redesignation as the B-50. Between 1948 and 1954, B-50s served with the Strategic Air Command as medium bombers, and they were replaced by jet-propelled B-47s. Many were modified for support roles such as weather reconnaissance, crew training, photo-mapping and aerial refueling.

In 1953 the USAF decided to replace its aging WB-29 weather reconnaissance aircraft with modified B-50Ds. Stripped of their defensive armament, 36 B-50Ds were equipped for long-range weather reconnaissance missions with high-altitude atmospheric samplers, Doppler radar, weather radar and a bomb-bay fuel tank for extended range. Some WB-50 aircraft also flew missions to sample the air for radioactive particles indicating that the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear weapon. The WB-50D aircraft accomplished special weather reconnaissance missions with SAC's 97th Bomb Wing until April 1955, when all WB-50s went to the Air Weather Service.

In 1963 the USAF started phasing out the WB-50Ds, and in 1965 the aircraft on display became the last WB-50D to be retired. It was delivered to the museum in 1968.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360s of 3,500 hp each
Maximum speed: 395 mph
Range: 4,900 statute miles (without aerial refueling)
Ceiling: 36,700 ft.
Span: 141 ft. 2 in.
Length: 99 ft.
Height: 32 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 173,000 lbs. maximum
Serial number: 49-0310

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