Dover Air Force Base in Kent County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
— S/N 49-0389 —
In 1956, the plane before you was the first B-50 to be converted into a KB-50. Instead of carrying bombs, the KB-50 carried two large fuel tanks in the bomb bay. It had two drogue hose pods mounted to the wingtips along with a third in the former tail gunner's position. In 1957, jet engines were added to boost the aircraft to safer speeds while refueling faster jet aircraft. Those that received jet engines were dubbed KB-50Js.
The KB-50 was used successfully for about eight years. It served as the basis for the KC-97 design and both aircraft served concurrently until replaced by the jet powered KC-135 Stratotanker. The last KB-50s flew as emergency refuelers for jet fighters over Vietnam before final retirement in 1965.
Type: Probe-and-drogue aerial refueler
Powerplant: Four 3,500-hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35(A) radial engines and two 5,910-lb-thrust General Electric J-47 turbojets.
Maximum Speed: 444 mph (at 17,000 ft)
Range: 2,500 mi.
Service Ceiling: 32,100 ft
Max Takeoff Wight: 179,511 lb
Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer, and two refueling operators
Payload: 5,500 gallons of fuel
Wing Span: 141 ft 2 in
Length: 105 ft 1 in
Height: 33 ft 7 in
Above: A KB-50J Superfortress refuels a RF-101 Voodoo while a B-66 Destroyer and F-100 Super Saber maneuvers into hook-up position.
A taller tail fin was fitted to the B-50 to improve stability in flight. This new fin could fold down to be fitted inside regular USAF hangars.
The B-50 wing was reconstructed using stronger aluminum known as 75ST and became 600 pounds lighter.
In B-50D models and later the seven-piece nose cone window used on the B-29 was replaced by a single plastic cone and a flat bombardier's window.
Installation of the General Electric J-47 turbojet engines increased the aircraft's airspeed and altitude allowing it to refuel the newer and faster jet fighters.
After finding corrosion in the crashed KB-50J #48-065 on 14 October 1964 in Thailand, all B-50 variants were forced into early retirement (March 1965) and were replaced by KC-135 Stratotanker.
Location. 39° 7.031′ N, 75° 27.431′ W. Marker is in Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, in Kent County. Marker can be reached from Heritage Road 0.7 miles west of Bayside Drive (Delaware Route 9), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1301 Heritage Road, Dover AFB DE 19902, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. AN/GPN-20 Airport Surveillance Radar (a few steps from this marker); C-121C (within shouting distance of this marker); U-3A (within shouting distance of this marker); C-5A (within shouting distance of this marker); KC-135E (within shouting distance of this marker); LGM-30 (within shouting distance of this marker); C-60 (within shouting distance of this marker); UH-1H (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dover Air Force Base.
Categories. • Air & Space • War, Vietnam •
More. Search the internet for KB-50J.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 13, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 13, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 56 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 13, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.