IMG_7084In the middle of this radar trailer (above) is a section that holds the people who operate it. Either side are the active pieces – the radar dish and the pieces that control its position etc. on the right and on the left are the viewing screens and controls, which just stick out of the front of the cabin, each piece of program shrink wrapped individually. Some details below. This example is at Duxford.
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B29 front wheel hatch – outside view

Like many architects I am fascinated by aeroplane construction. The B29 is particularly interesting due to its circumstances. It was designed and developed to be built with less skilled labour than had been the case with earlier designs and was made with as simple shapes as possible. The B17 is a flow of compound curves but most of the B29 is a cylinder and a cone. The junction of the wings are not blended as in the B 17, but have ┬ásmall fillets. The performance is realised through detail rather than idealised form. A lot of attention is lavished on the front wheel hatch. On the outside (above) ┬áthe double curvature surface is inherently strong and is kept smooth for the wind with flush rivets. When the ‘plane is landed there is a large space within the hatch where the wheel used to be stowed. In an elegant innovation this space is used as an entry hatch for the crew to enter the ‘plane, so that openings that weaken the airframe are kept to a minimum (below).

B 29 crew hatch within the front wheel well

The wheel hatch doors have pressed inner skins that have a depth to provide strength. As they are mostly out of the wind (except for take off and landing) they are fixed with domed rivet heads. The inner skins are connected to the outer surface at the perimeter and some dished sections to make connections across the centre of the hatch doors (see below).

B29 structural connection between inner and outer front wheel hatch door skin

The structural depth of these two skins protrudes into the space occupied by the landing gear when the wheels are stowed during flight. To overcome this packaging problem there are dimples pressed into the inner skin to accept the front

wheel (see below).

See dimple pressed into inner skin in foreground to accept front landing gear

In quite a simple door there are therefore a number of elegant negotiations to get all the parts to work together.

B 29 Front wheel hatch doors

B 29 Front Wheel – the object the doors have to fit around.

This example is from Duxford but there is another one on display at PIMA in Tucson.

There is a film on youtube about the making of the B 29 that you might enjoy – find it here




Three stereoscopic views of the packaging of a B-24’s Pratt and Whitney R-1830 turbo-supercharged engines. Not quite as tight as the organs in our torso, but beautifully packaged none the less. Anyone who has seen my Springer book may remember the photograph on page 38 that shows the B24 being drawn at the Ford Willow Run plant (see here), with a visceral relationship between the draftsmen and the drawing.

This example is from Duxford.

Use the usual process for resolving the stereoscopic images