|The tail of the Enola Gay|
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
As I am still suffering the deleterious effects of getting up way too early after getting not nearly enough sleep, another short post is in order.
For those who need to know such things, on Wednesday last I dropped The Missus Herself off at the aeroporto round about four in the AM, ya know real early. While there were (much to my surprise and dismay) a rather large number of people there at that insane hour, we arrived with ample time for her to go through security and board her flight to California. She pinged me from Chicago, two hour layover, then later on from Sandy Eggo, six hour layover. Fresno, then Hanford once she left Sandy Eggo. Long day for her.
Don't question the scheduling, the overall journey, though long and boring, had two benefits 1) I didn't have to drive to Boston, and 2) it was fairly cheap for a semi-short notice flight. The WSO did all the scheduling (something she did professionally in the Navy... settle down, settle down, not all schedules are equal...) and met most of my criteria. Well, all actually. I also wanted an early flight out of PVD so as to avoid rush hour in the greater Providence metropolitan area. Which, while small, and no where near approximating Boston, NYC, DC or (shudder) Los Angeles traffic, is still a pain in the butt. (Heh, he said butt...)
Anyhoo, I dropped her off and returned to Chez Sarge with plenty of time to get ready for work and take myself thither, arriving much earlier than usual. After a cup of coffee, a wee breakfast sandwich, and the ritual perusal of the "overnight mail" (as Buck was wont to call it) I began my engineering activities.
Only to discover that I was about as effective as a
So after an hour and a half, I packed it in, I gave up, I departed the building and RTBed. I was just too tired to function at anything above the molecular level. In my defense, I have just finished a course of heavy duty antibiotics (for that whole intestinal malady I have mentioned in that past) and am still recovering. Made me grumpy and tired they did, not to mention tasting "like ass."
Once at home, I immediately dove into my rack (much to the delight of the feline staff, they like it when I stay home) and though having consumed two cups of coffee, I nearly immediately wandered off to dreamland. Where the dreams were many and weird. (Lately I have had many dreams of The Missus Herself and I living in domiciles different from where we actually live. Not sure what that means, not sure I want to know.)
Anyhoo. Whilst the explaining of why this is a short post has made it not so short, I see I have yet to get to the point.
And this is different from other days, how?
But yes, I digress.
The last time I was down in Old Virginny, The Nuke and her beau took The Missus Herself and I out to the Udvar-Hazy Center. The Nuke's beau, like myself, likes military aircraft, his late Dad actually flew F-106s in the Air Force, so he was an Air Force brat, though he did his stint in the Navy and, once again, I digress.
While at Udvar-Hazy he mentioned, "What's that door under the tail in the Enola Gay?" To my chagrin, I found I could not answer that question. Mortified I was and determined to "look that up!" (Old Air Force answer to any question you did not know the answer to. "I don't know," while honest, was unacceptable. Don't ask me, I don't make the rules...)
Now I have finally remembered to "look that up", perhaps now you might be wondering just what "door" am I talking about? Here's a close up -
That, my friend is a "retractable tail bumper."
No, really Sarge, what is it? Really, here's the proof, graphically and textually.
This site had this to say: "The B-29 featured the first ever fully pressurized nose and cockpit in a bomber; an aft area for the crew was also pressurized. Since the bomb bays were not pressurized, a pressurized tunnel was devised to connect the fore and aft crew areas. A retractable tail bumper was provided for tail protection during nose-high takeoffs and landings."
So now I know what it is, and so do you. If anyone ever asks you what that door is under the Enola Gay's tail is, you'll know two things 1) it's not a door, and 2) you can tell them all about the B-29's amazing non-technicolor retractable tail bumper.