B-24 Liberator

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[top] B-24 Liberator Photo History

The B-24 Liberator was built by Ford Motor Company at the Willow Run manufacturing plant. Interestingly. this plant was designed by Albert Kahn, the architect for Langley AFB. The quality of the aircraft was not up to par when the plant opened. Air Corps Chief General 'Hap' Arnold told Charles Lindbergh the combat squadrons preferred the B-17 because 'when we send the 17's out on a mission, most the them return. But when we send the 24's out, most of them don't.'[1] Congress authorized a committee in 1943 to examine problems.



The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was the most numerous American bomber of World War II (over 18,000 were produced). The NACA flew this B-24D at Langley before transferring it to the new NACA Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. The large hanger in the background is the Army Air Forces Lighter-than-Air hanger.
LMAL 39764.jpg


1944 B-24 (2).jpg


1944 Photo of B-24D.jpg


Photograph of the fuselage bottom taken after airplane was removed from James River. Note damage in nose-wheel door area, dent in rear bomb door, hole near bottom turret, and damage to rudders. The skin was indented over lower half of fuselage in a strip just in front of the tail empennage.
1944 B-24 James River Ditching Damage.jpg


The B-24 ditching tests were conducted in the James River. This photo shows damage to the aircraft after a test. (See 2009 article on importance of ditching tests.)

[top] Ditching Photos


[top] Films

Video of Ditching Tests

1944: Experimental Ditching of a B-24 Airplane

Correlation of Ditching Performance of a 1/24 Scale Model and Full-size Army B-24 Airplane

B-24 Ditching with Hydro Scoop

[top] Further Reading

Aircraft Emergency Procedures Over Water. Department of the Air Force AFM 64-6. Portions of handbook with NASA photos.

Willow Run History

[top] References

  1. The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich
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