B-29 Enola Gay
B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay Gay Nose Art
Flown by Paul Tibbets
Dimensions: 25" x 26"
The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay named by its pilot Paul Tibbets, after his mother. Tibbets choose his B-29 bomber while it was being manufactured at Boeing assembly plant.
The B-29 Enola Gay Superfortress was the first bomber to ever drop an atomic bomb. It was difficult to even think of the need to use an atomic bomb. With its destructive power, it was used to end the War sooner and save lives.
The code name used for the bomb was "Little Boy". The atomic bomb fell on one of the largest city in Japan, which was the city of Hiroshima.
At the end of the war, the Enola Gay was flown to a base in New Mexico. Deciding to send the Enola Gay to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. where it remained for several years turned out to be a bad decision.
While parked the Enola Gay was not protected from the weather or from souvenir hunters. The deteriorating condition of the B-29 forced them to transfer it to a facility in Maryland.
The restoration work started in 1984 requiring 300,000 staff hours to complete the project.
This famous aircraft is a static display at a museum in Washington which is now open to the public.
A little of the background history of the B-29 Superfortress.
Boeing-Wichita consumed enormous resources to sustain its labor force, numbering over 25,000 workers and producing 1,644 B-29s by 1944—a pace of over four per day. To accommodate B-29 production, the U.S. Defense Plant Corporation built “Plant II” at Boeing-Wichita, a 1.7-million-square-foot facility that cost over $26 million and was so well-built that it was still in use for aircraft production seventy-five years later. The facility consumed 36 million gallons of water and 20,000 gallons of oil per day and paid a monthly electric bill of $426,313.25 The site cafeteria became the biggest restaurant in Kansas, serving 15,000 meals per day, requiring 5,000 pounds of meat daily.
But the factory itself was only part of the war’s increased environmental cost. Wichita’s population exploded from 114,634 in 1940 to 176,316 in 1944, sparking a housing crisis and straining the city’s resources and its residents’ ability to accommodate the influx of newcomers.26 The the most critical shortage was housing for the new workers; after mobilizing all of the excess inventory, spare rooms, basements, and garages, the city still lacked space for hopeful employees who arrived daily by the hundreds.27 As a result, the federal government stepped in to provide subsidized housing, building three new subdivisions on Wichita’s southeast side, near the plant. As historian Julie Courtwright documented in her article, “Want to Build a Miracle City? War Housing in Wichita,” “the aircraft industry, destined to become responsible for the nickname Air Capital of the World, was, during the Great Depression, struggling to survive in Wichita. The onset of war, however, almost overnight transformed aviation into the high-dollar industry and its host into a boomtown.