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B-47 Wind Tunnel Model Design Evolution
(0061-1121)

The Boeing B-47 was the country's first swept-wing multi-engine bomber. It represented a milestone in aviation history and a revolution in aircraft design. Every large jet aircraft today is a descendant of the B-47. Boeing engineers had envisioned a jet-powered plane as early as 1943. However, wind tunnel tests of straight-wing jet aircraft indicated that the straight wing did not use the full potential of jet-engine power. Near the end of World War II, Boeing aerodynamicist George Schairer was in Germany as part of a fact-finding mission. At a hidden German aeronautics laboratory, Schairer saw wind tunnel data on swept-wing jet airplanes and sent the information home. Engineers then used the recently completed Boeing High-Speed Wind Tunnel to develop and design the XB-47, with its slender 35-degree swept-back wings. Another innovation pioneered on the B-47 was the concept of placing the engines in pods (nacelles) suspended under the wings. A pod containing two General Electric J-35 engines (GE J-47 engines for all production models) hung from each wing inboard, and a single engine hung farther out. B-47 had tandem bicycle-type landing gear under the front and back sections of the fuselage. Small outrigger wheels on the inboard engines kept the airplane from tipping over when it was on the ground.

Source: Boeing Photographer


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