The P models were an upgrade over the M models, which had been in service for a couple of years at that point. The B-29M used a loop-and-hose system, the hose of which had a 2.5-inch-diameter refueling hose that transferred fuel at a relatively modest 110 gallons per minute. That would prove inadequate for the new high-speed, high-altitude bombers coming into service, on top of being tricky to operate.
"Interestingly enough, Boeing already had a better system in mind," according to an Air Force post describing the transition to the KB-29P. "The company developed a 'flying boom,' which featured a telescoping pipe with fins at the nozzle end. The fins were termed 'ruddervators' because they functioned as both rudders and elevators. The boom operator, sitting in the B-29's converted tail turret, literally flew the boom into a receptacle on the upper fuselage of the receiver aircraft. This design allowed more positive control of the air-to-air refueling operation and, with the boom's four-inch diameter, it offered much faster fuel transfer."
The KB-29Ms were later converted to a more modern probe and drogue system.
August 25, 2013 9:14 AM PDT
Photo by: US Air Force
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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