In this book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes (p. 705), I read:
[Paul Tibbets] eased the brakes [of Enola Gay] at 0245, the four fuel-injected Wright Cyclone engines pounding. “The B-29 has lots of torque in take-off,” he notes. “It wants to swerve off the runway to the left. The average mass-production pilot offsets torque by braking his right wheels. It's a rough ride, you lose ten miles an hour and you delay the take-off.” Nothing so rude for Tibbets. “Pilots of the 509th Group were taught to cancel torque by leading in with the left engines, advancing throttles ahead of the right engines. At eighty miles an hour, you get full rudder control, advance the right-hand engine to full power and, in a moment, you're airborne.”
I am not especially knowledgeable in aviation matters, but I believe that the torque is due to the B-29's four propellers all rotating in the same direction. Is that right? If so:
- Why did this problem only arise during take-off?
- Why did all propellers rotate the same way? Is this true for all propeller-driven aircraft with more than one engine? Why?
- If the 509th Group's technique was so good (and apparently not especially complex), why did only they use it?