The 6th Bomb Group

The Crew: Flight Engineer



 

The B-29 was one of the first planes with a full-time Flight Engineer.  The Flight Engineer was responsible for insuring that all the flight systems were in working condition - which generally meant keeping track of four cantankerous engines, hydraulic systems, etc. This task was not made any easier by the fact that B-29 engines had a tendency to catch fire, that Boeing designed the throttle levers to work backwards, or that gremlins and unfriendly people were doing their best to put the systems out of operation.

 

Gremlins at work
by Roald Dahl

Click on image to enlarge


Fig. 21. The Engineer's Station
Pilot's Flight Operating Instructions for Army Model B-29 Airplane

 

For an excellent description of flight engineer training and the preparation for each mission see "A Day in the Life of a Flight Engineer" by Jack Caldwell.


B29s flying in formation as seen from the fight engineer's seat
Photo provided by Captain Jerry Mason, USN.