18,482 B-24 Liberators were made during the war. This is the sole surviving flying J Model left in the world.
She carried a crew of eleven (as opposed to the B-17's ten), could cruise at 215mph, and had a range of 2,100 miles.
Henry Ford built a massive factory to build these at Willow Run, just outside Ypsilanti, MI. At the war's end, Ford just abandoned the pace, lock, stock and barrel. The plant's gone now but the airfield remains. I can't fly over or through it without imagining the B-24s that once covered the field.
Here's the powered chin turret with it's twin .50 machine guns. Below it is the window used by the bombardier when he was plotting the target and flying the aircraft on the bomb run.
The B-24 uses the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-35 or -41 turbosupercharged radial engines @ 1,200 hp. Below is a close-up of one of the turbosuperchargers.
Actor and great American James Stewart flew these over Germany during World War Two.
Not even any plexiglas between the waist gunner and the outside. Just a wind deflector. It got awfully cold up at 35,000 feet, which is why they wore electrically-heated flight suits (and why they died when those suits shorted out, or when their oxygen mask quit working.)
The powered tail gun position. Much more sophisticated than the tail station on the B-17.
The massive twin tail that made the Liberator so distinctive.
The Liberator had two connected bomb bays instead of one and the doors rolled up and down vertically instead of hinging open like on the B-17.
Simply beautiful. It's such a shame that we didn't save more of them.