Im thinking the window sequence and the shadow (possible a prop?) Might be your best help. My dad bought this photo and him nor I can figure it out. I work at a dang airport, too! TIA.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I don't suppose you can make out any part of the tail number up close? That would ease in cross-checking the proposed answers. $\endgroup$
    – bartonjs
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ It's possible that there is a caption or some other traceable information on the back of the print. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 19:06

4 Answers 4


It's most likely a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. It was a strategic bomber used by the US in the Pacific theater of World War II. The lower row of four windows and then another further aft matches pictures of the B-29. The "U.S. AIR FORCE" markings are a post-WWII style.

B-29 Source

It's also possible that it's a B-50 Superfortress. This was an upgraded version of the B-29 with new engines and other changes that are hard to see in the picture. Only 370 were built. Although it's not clear when the picture was taken, and only 5 examples of the B-50 still exist. The B-29, on the other hand, has way more.

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    $\begingroup$ As another fun fact, only two of either type are still able to fly. Both B-29s, one named "Doc" and the other named "Fifi". FIfi has been touring the country for years (I'm not sure if Doc has started doing that yet), and you can get a flight on one if you have the cash. $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ I've not found been able to find any photograph online of a straight B-29 with the "U.S. AIR FORCE" markings in the position shown in the photo in the question. KB-29s and B-50s appear to have been painted that way. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby yeah, most don't have that scheme. But this site has pictures of a bunch of surviving examples, and four of them have the large lettering. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot Ironically, I might have actually seen one of those... Though it doesn't seem to have the lettering any more. (Not that this is relevant; you've clearly shown that there have been B-29s with the lettering.) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. We head a B29 here at KLZU for a week or so, I saw it flying today near KPDK. It's a huge aircraft. Not sure if it was "Doc" or "FIFI", could not get the right angle on the aircraft to view the tail numbers sitting at the airport. $\endgroup$
    – Doug Ryan
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 0:09

Boeing typically has the tight airforce markings near the nose. The photo bears heavy resemblance to the kb-50 as its lower nose portion fit the look when you zoom in on the OPs image you can see the window matching more then the kb-97, was just so big..





Either way they are both variants of the previous answer.

turret and no turret comparison images below. with turret with out turret

  • $\begingroup$ Why specifically the tanker variants (KB-xx rather than B-xx)? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ I am categorically leaning towards the KB-50 as a match. $\endgroup$
    – PCARR
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ The B-50 has a turret on the upper forward portion of the fusalage. The OPs image is lacking the bump that would show a rise to the 50 cal weapon system. The increase tail height was a modification from the B-29 to the B-50. At this point with the information that has been presented, we are as close to a match as we can get. Now if the OP could post a date of the photo and who took the photo that could help us narrow it down to the era. Judging by the image quality and that it appears to be in sepia, I would say it is a more recent photo. Older prints would have a more grainy appearance $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ It's not clear that the turret would be visible from the angle the photograph was taken from, but I see your point. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ I will add some images to my answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 19:37

If I were to guess I'd say the picture is of the B-50 at the Pima Air Museum.



  • $\begingroup$ The blind windows show that the plane was decommissioned a long time before the photo was taken. Good guess! +1 $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like that plane has now been restored to its original shiny splendor. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ This page is about the restoration is dated April 8, 2014 and says the restoration took six months. Thus we know that the OP's picture was taken before October 8, 2013. :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 6:07

Definitely a Boeing B-50, as the nose is similar to both the B-29 and B-50 (but not the KC-97 or C-97), while the extra tall fin eliminates the B-29. Boeing B-50 in flight


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