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Treasures of the Archives: USAF Boeing Bombers in Flight over Washington

Boeing Bombers, Photographs, State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

Boeing Bombers, Photographs, State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov

Boeing has a long and storied history in Washington State. Founded in 1917 in Seattle, the company made its first planes out of the readily available spruce wood of the Pacific Northwest. Achieving great success with flying boat designs, the company by 1930 had built some of the first commercial airliners in the world. This image shows the evolution of some of Boeing’s most famous military aircraft. On top is the B-17 “Flying Fortress,” the workhorse of the American WWII Bomber fleet. Below it is the B-29 “Superfortress,” which achieved fame as the high altitude bomber which dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Next is the B-47 “Stratojet,” the first of the post-WWII jet engine powered bombers of the American fleet. It never saw combat, but was a crucial step in the evolution of propeller planes into the modern jet airliner. The massive aircraft on the bottom is the B-52 “Stratofortress,” a truly impressive machine which saw combat in every major engagement since Vietnam, and is still in use today. The Washington State Archives has many more great images like this one in its photograph section. Do a search for “Boeing” to see many photos of Boeing’s contribution to the space program, early aircraft and much more.