The Boeing Logbook: 1943 - 1945
1943 Jan. 1: McDonnell gets a contract to build the Navy's first jet fighter.
Jan. 27: The Boeing B-17 Banshee is among the first U.S. airplanes to bomb Germany during a daylight raid.
Feb. 18: Prototype of the Boeing B-29 crashes, killing test pilot Eddie Allen, the crew and 19 on the ground. The following year the company will invest $750,000 in the largest and fastest wind tunnel ever built and will name it after Eddie Allen.
April 15: The first production model Boeing B-29 rolls out of the Wichita, Kan., plant.
May 15: Boeing starts branch plants throughout the Puget Sound area to cope with production. They are in Aberdeen, Bellingham, Tacoma, Chehalis and Everett, Wash.
June: Boeing engineers start preliminary studies for developing a jet-powered aircraft.
June 24: From a Boeing B-17 flying at 40,200 feet, Lt. Col. W.R. Lovelace, M.D., makes the highest parachute jump ever made in the United States.
July 9: U.S. Army Air Forces Douglas-built C-47s, along with British RAF DC-3 Dakotas, start spectacular night operations for the invasion of Sicily by towing gliders from North Africa across the Mediterranean.
Dec. 13: North American's P-51B Mustangs accompany 651 heavy bombers to U-boat pens at Kiel, Germany. Three days later a Mustang downs a German fighter for the first time.
1944 Jan. 5: North American's Mustangs score 18 victories. In 1944 there were 17 P-51 fighter groups in England. Of these, the 357th Fighter Group had 609 aerial victories.
Jan. 6: The McDonnell XP-67 twin-engine bomber destroyer (nicknamed the "Bat") makes its first flight.
March: The Douglas Gargoyle missile makes its first flight.
March 10: The Boeing "Battle of Kansas" begins. To make 175 B-29s ready for military service on time, 600 workers at the Wichita plant work around the clock for four weeks during bitter winter weather.
June 5: The first tactical Boeing B-29 mission flies from India. Ten days later the first B-29 mission over Japan will involve 47 Superfortresses of the 20th Bomber Command flying from bases in Chengtu, China.
June 6: More than 1,000 military Douglas DC-3 and C-47 aircraft, many towing troop-carrying gliders, airlift more than 20,000 paratroopers and their weapons across the English Channel during the first hours of D-Day.
July 22: The last of 5,936 Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers is completed.
Sept. 4: Boeing President Philip Johnson dies in Wichita. Across the country, aircraft workers stand in silence to honor his memory.
Sept. 14: A Douglas A-20 Havoc makes first successful flight into a hurricane for scientific data.
Sept. 18: During "Operation Market Garden," the airborne invasion of Holland, Douglas C-47s tow 904 gliders carrying the American 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions into battle.
Sept. 20: The last of 7,098 Douglas-built aircraft in the DB-7/A-20 series leaves final assembly.
Oct. 24: The first bombing mission of the 21st Bomber Command against Japan involves 88 Boeing B-29s in the first heavy bomb strike on Tokyo.
Nov. 9: The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter prototype, Model 367, makes its first flight in Seattle. After the war it will be redesigned as an aerial tanker.
Nov. 27: The Boeing XF8B-1 (Model 400) long-range Navy fighter makes its first flight. The three built will be the first fighters Boeing has built since 1934.
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1945 Jan. 9: A C-97 Stratofreighter (Model 367) sets a transcontinental record by flying 2,323 miles from Seattle to Washington, D.C., in 6 hours and 4 minutes, at an average speed of 383 miles per hour.
Jan. 26: The McDonnell XFD-1 prototype of the FH-1 Phantom naval jet fighter makes its first flight.
March 7: The Piasecki HRP-1 tandem-rotor helicopter makes its first flight.
March 18: The Douglas AD Skyraider makes its first flight.
April 13: The last Boeing-built B-17 is delivered.
May 7: Germany surrenders.
June 30: By this date, North American has delivered a total of 14,487 Mustangs to Allied air forces.
July 23: Boeing is authorized to build the B-29D. Once built, it will be so different from the B-29 that it will be redesignated the B-50 on Dec. 23.
Aug. 6: The Boeing B-29 Enola Gay drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, the B-29 Bockscar bombs Nagasaki, Japan.
Aug. 15: World War II ends. The government cancels its orders for bombers. By the end of the year, 70,000 Boeing employees, 99,000 Douglas employees and 86,000 North American employees will be left without jobs.
Sept. 1: William M. Allen is elected president of the Boeing Airplane Co.
Sept. 5: The Douglas C-74 Globemaster military transport makes its first flight. It can circumnavigate the globe making only two stops.
Oct. 23: The last of 10,174 military DC-3/C-47 transport aircraft built by Douglas is handed over to the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Nov. 20: The Boeing B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat sets a world nonstop distance record of 8,198 miles on a flight from Guam to Washington, D.C.
Nov. 28: Pan American World Airways orders 20 Boeing Stratocruisers (Model 377), a commercial version of the C-97 military transport.
Dec. 22: Two Boeing C-97 Stratofreighters, on their first peacetime mission, carry 190 servicemen from Seattle to Chicago in time for Christmas.
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