What Fuel Efficiency Meant in 1944

 

8d37140v

The public debut of the B-29 Superfortress, at Washington National Airport in 1944. (Library of Congress)

In 2014, the Pentagon is all about energy efficiency. Making engines run cleaner and get every ounce of energy out a gallon of fuel could get you that extra mile in a tanker mission or extra two minutes in air for an ISR plane. It’s a path for cost savings with higher mission efficiency.

Things were a little different back in 1944.

Above is a photo of a B-29 Superfortress, taken during its first public showing, at National Airport near Washington, D.C., in November 1944. Hosted by the Library of Congress, the photo was discovered the other day by Brad Peniston, an editor here at DN, and it was too good not to share with our friends at Intercepts.

Notice that giant group of barrels up front? That’s the fuel needed to fill the tanks on the bomber. The Library of Congress notes that is “equivalent to a railroad tank car.” It’s hard to tell exactly, but it looks to be about 130 barrels. That’s not messing around.

(By the way, there are 36 more photos from that event here, including a display of the plane’s bomb load.)

Of course, these days, refueling looks a little bit different than it did back then…

A B1-B Lancer approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker for an aerial refueling over Afghanistan April 9, 2012. (US Air Force)

A B1-B Lancer approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker for an aerial refueling over Afghanistan April 9, 2012. (US Air Force)

Aaron Mehta

Aaron Mehta

Air Warfare Correspondent at Defense News
Aaron covers the Air Force for Defense News. In his spare time, he tweets about the Air Force for Defense News. Follow him @AaronMehta
Aaron Mehta
[starbox]