No. 8509. Boeing 345 B-29A Superfortress (44-62128) US Army Air Forces "Warm Front"
Photographed at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, 1946, from Leo Kohn via Dan Shumaker, source unknown

Boeing 345 B-29A Superfortress

01/31/2009. Produced as a B-29A-65-BN by Boeing at Renton, Washington, USA, the aircraft was accepted by the USAAF on August 11, 1945, and subsequently stored, initially at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, later at Victorville, California. It was delivered to the 59th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Roswell, New Mexico in January 1946.

In the summer of 1946 the aircraft was one of three weather reconnaissance B-29s assigned to Operation Crossroads, an atmospheric nuclear weapon test series conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, here the aircraft received its name Warm Front. Note the black undersides and the incomplete 'W' weather tail marking as the aircraft was fitted with a replacement rudder. After Operation Crossroads the aircraft returned to storage, this time at Robins AFB, Georgia.

It was delivered to the RAF as a Washington B.Mk.I, s/n WF495, on November 27, 1950. Operations with the RAF ended late 1953 and the aircraft was to be returned to the USA. On the transfer flight from Prestwick to the USA the aircraft encountered uncontrollable icing conditions and crashed into the Irish Sea on January 26, 1954. The crew had radioed they were bailing out, but despite an extensive search by several life boats, only one body was recovered.

Created January 31, 2009