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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography
B-29 Superfortress
Whiteman Air Force Base
Knob Noster, MO


B-29

B-29 on display at Whiteman Air Force Base near the town of Knob Noster, Missouri. Whiteman is the home of the 509th Bomb Group, the group that dropped the atomic bombs in Japan during WWII. The 509th currently operates the USAF fleet of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers. This base is higher security than most air force bases, so don't even think of trying to get on base for photography unless you have a military connection.

The B-29 on display at Whiteman is painted in the markings of The Great Artiste. The original Great Artiste was lost in an accident in Alaska many years ago. This B-29 is painted to honor the memory of The Great Artiste.

The Great Artiste was the only aircraft to fly both atomic bombing missions over Japan. It was the observer aircraft for the Hiroshima mission. It was scheduled to be the bomber aircraft for the Nagasaki mission, but since it was loaded with scientific equipment used to monitor the Hiroshima attack, it was decided at the last minute to keep The Great Artiste as the observer aircraft, and substitute Bockscar as the bombing aircraft. While the aircraft were switched, the crews were not, so Fred Bock and the crew of Bockscar flew the observer mission in The Great Artiste, and Charles Sweeney and his crew flew the bombing mission in Bockscar.

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2014, all rights reserved.
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