The B-29 Superfortress, Part Two
By Scott Schwartz
Fire aboard an aircraft is something that is dreaded by pilots and aircrew. Left unchecked, fire can melt major structural components-such as wing spars, with obvious results. This is exactly what happened with the second B-29 prototype. The date was February 18, 1943. During the preceding months, engine overheating and engine fires became commonplace, especially at altitudes above 25,000 feet. On this day, yet another engine fire burned completely through the wing spar. Boeing test pilot Eddie Allen, the entire flight crew, and six firefighters (who were on the ground) were killed in the crash. This disaster caused the whole B-29 program to come to a halt.