Aviation of WWII
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Manuals B-17 B-29 Pilot`s Notes

Interior of the Airplane


Between the nose section and the bomb bay is the flight deck, or pilot's compartment. This elevated enclosure contains the pilot's and copilot's stations with all the essential flight controls, instruments, etc., (See pp. 34-39.) It is also equipped with a Sperry power turret with twin .50-cal. machine guns.


The nose section of the B-17 provides a compartment for the navigator and the bombardier. In addition to the equipment necessary for the performance of their duties, the compartment is equipped with three .50-cal. machine guns.


The bomb bay is aft of the pilot's compartment. Provision is made for releasable gasoline tanks in place of a bomb load. One tank may be carried on each side of the bomb truss. Tanks (or bombs) can be released electrically by the bombardier, or can be released by pulling one of the emergency release handles.

Bomb rack selector switches, installed on either side of the bomb bay, are used in conjunction with the rack selector switches on the bombardier's control panel. When either switch is "OFF" electrical release of bombs and fuel tanks is impossible.

A hand transfer pump is mounted on the aft bulkhead of the bomb bay and is used in case of the failure of the electric fuel pump.

"Tokyo tank" shut-off valves are mounted below the door at aft end of bomb bay. (In some installations these valves are in the radio compartment.)

A relief tube is located behind the dome light in the left bomb bay.


The radio compartment is aft of the bomb bay section, and is reached from the flight deck by a catwalk through the bomb bay.

The radio compartment is equipped with one .50-cal. machine gun.


In the bottom of the waist section (aft of the radio compartment) provision is made for a Sperry ball-type power turret equipped with twin .50-cal. machine guns. This turret can be entered from within the airplane after takeoff.


The tail gunner's compartment is in the extreme end of the fuselage and is equipped with 2 direct-sighted .50-cal. machine guns. There are two ways of entering this compartment: (1) from the waist section through the tail-wheel compartment by means of a small door in the bulkhead, and (2) from the outside of the airplane through a -small side door. The latter is an emergency exit and has an emergency release handle.


Main entrance and exit is located in the waist section.

Two flexible .50-cal. machine guns are located in the waist gunners' compartment, one on each side.


Protective armor plate mounted on rubber cushions is installed at crew stations throughout the airplane.

The pilot, copilot, and radio operator are protected by armor plate on the backs of their seats.

The bombardier-navigator compartment contains armor plate on the bulkhead at the rear of the compartment.

Armor protection for the top turret operator is placed on the aft side of the bulkhead at the rear of the pilot's compartment.

The gunner's seat in the ball turret is made of armor plate.

Armor plate in the waist gunner's compartment is installed above, below, and to the rear of each side window.

Padded armor plates and bulletproof glass protect the tail gunner.

The autopilot Servo motors above the tail-wheel are protected by armor at the side and bottom.