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Douglas B-18 Bolo Bomber,
Photos & Information

douglas_b-18_photo   douglas_b-18a_bolo_picture
B-18 sn 2561   B-18 sn 2505

Last modified Oct. 14, 2014

  ONLINE Geoff Goodall, scroll down (PDF) Joe Baugher Wikipedia FAA Spec. TC 2-577
  WPAFB Museum, 1 WPAFB Museum, 2
  PDF'S 3/66 Air Classics article, 9-pages
  WORD DOCUMENTS info Douglas Production List
Click on images and links below
1935 Douglas DB-1 Bomber, sn 1353,
Later Converted to B-18 USAAC 37-51

DB-1 stood for "Douglas Bomber 1" as DC-1 was for "Douglas Commercial 1." The DB-1 was to replace the Martin B-10 but it wasn't a great success. See details in the 3/66 Air Classics article here. (PDF)

Here's a closer look at the front, and an even closer view of the nose on which you can read "Douglas DB-1." This nose must have been designed before they understood aerodynamic drag! This is an 'OFFICIAL PHOTO OF THE U.S. ARMY AIR CORPS."
The DB-1 then, was produced as the B-18 series. It is often said that the B-18 is a bomber version of the DC-3. However, it is similar to the DC-2 and DC-3 in some ways but was built well before the DC-3. The DC-1 was Douglas sn 1137, the first DC-2 was sn 1237, the DB-1 was 1353 and the first DC-3 (DST) was 1494. See the Douglas Production List here.
Joe Baugher says, (scroll down to 37-51) "Douglas DB-1 c/n 1353.  Delivered to Wright Field Aug 1935.  Returned to Douglas for modification to B-18 production standard. Returned to USAAC 28Feb37.  Displayed at Bolling Field Exhibition 19Jan40  In Aug 1939 the aircraft was modified to test the feasibility of firing a large cannon from aircraft. A forward-firing 75mm was mounted in a fixed position in the bomb bay and the nose was cut down to accommodate the muzzle for initial tests over Lake Erie and at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Phillips Field, MD. Vibration during firing proved excessive, and the experiments were discontinued. However, data gathered were of value in developing the cannon-firing versions of the North American B-25G/H."
Several earlier B-18's
  Douglas_B-18_Mitchell Field
<-- An early B-18 in maintenance, or possibly maintenance training at Mitchel Field, on Long Island, NY.
--> Two B-18's at Westfield, but I'm not sure where that's at. Note the old car in this photo. These are old press photos.
Note that all of these aircraft have the old counterweighted Hamilton Standard constant speed props, but check out those spinners on the right!
  Douglas_B-18_picture Douglas_B-18_airplane picture Douglas_C-58_cargo

Above Left: The nose looks like something between a straight B-18 and a B-18A. Note the birdcage turret sticking up there. I'll bet they had to trim it and/or add some power when they cranked it up! It has the earlier nacelle without the hump on the top.

Center: B-18 sn 1889, 37-028, 7028, later N61564. Goodall says it was owned by Harold H. Kern in OH in 1946 and advertised for sale as freighter, in Oxford OH 6/47. It has Hamilton Standard 23E50 Hydromatic props and the later nacelle.
Top Right: The note on the back says it is a C-58, which would make it one of two B-18's converted to cargo configuration. Constant speed (non-feathering) props here, and the early nacelle.

Lower Right: Top view of what I believe is a straight B-18.
Douglas B-18 Bolo Bomber, sn 1890, USAAC 37-29,
later N52056, Tanker B20, now at Castle Museum


N52056 was based in Greybull, WY for decades as a sprayer and air tanker, as shown (right) in 10/77. It is now at Castle Museum, Atwater, CA as BI-24 (8/95 slide, left) , and I have this 11/81 slide, possibly at Baltimore.
Sources say it was converted to a B-18B (radar nose) but it is obviously a straight B-18 nose in all of these photos. Some post-war B-18's were converted to the Boeing B-17 type firewall forward, with cowl flaps, to accommodate higher horsepower engines. It does not have the hump over the nacelle.
Unidentified B-18A's
Douglas_B-18A Bomber picture
Center: B-18A #24 28MB
Left: "Shark nosed" B-18A #3 27R
Right: B-18A #131, in this 3/66 Air Classics feature (PDF)
All have the hump over the nacelle and the 23E50 Hydromatic full-feathering props.
Douglas B-18A/B Bolo Bomber, sn 2473, USAAC 37-473
Cattle Hauler N4611V

Built as a B-18A and converted to a B-18B, N4611V is shown here in Durham, CA in the early 1950's, per a 2/91 Air Classics article.

Reader's responses are here for 5/91 and 7/91. It looks like the kind of deal where, when Farmer/Captain Hubbs needed more calves he'd go out behind the barn, pull'er through, fire'er up and head to Long Beach.
Douglas B-18A/B Bolo Bomber, sn 2505, USAAC 37-505
later N67947, XB-JAJ, now at McChord Air Museum
  Douglas_B-18B_airplane_picture Douglas_B-18_McChord_Air_Museum B-18A_bomber_picture
Left: Mexican registered XB-LAJ at Davis Monthan, Tucson, AZ (MASDC) in 4/82, after it's Mexican experience.
Center: "Fish meets whale" might describe this scene from the 4/84 Air Classics magazine item about the B-18 being moved from MASDC to McChord Air Museum in the State of Washington, via C-5A.
Right: A super sharp 8x10 of 2505 from my collection. Here's closeups of: A) the nose, B) cockpit area showing 37-505, C) bomb bay doors, and D) left engine and landing gear.
It and B-18A sn 2561, 37-561, N66272 (below) are both on this 1954 aircraft auction (WORD). See more details on page 2 on Goodall here, under sn 2505
Douglas B-18A Bolo Bomber, sn 2534, USAAC 37-534
later N1692M, Colombian HK-537
Here's an interesting photo in my collection! B-18A USAAC 37-534 went on to become N1692M and then Colombian HK-537. It crashed and was written off on a cargo flight in Colombia in June 1965.
Here's some close ups of - - left side - - center - - right side (note the engine instruments turned 90-degrees clockwise for the captain's view!- - and lower. It's a lot like the DC-3's I flew years ago.
Douglas B-18A/B Bolo Bomber, sn 2561, USAAC 37-561
later N66272, Mexican XB-LAW
Left: I took this shot when our family was on vacation in 1958. Barry Baker had a spray business in Simsbury, CT and was a friend and competitor of my father.
Right: This is the March photo in the Preferred Airparts' 2015 calendar (scroll down) which I did for my sons. It was operated by Plains Aero Service in Amarillo, TX, from 1955-66, after which it went to Mexico, probably as a freighter. It was broken up at Ensanada, Baja California around 1972. Cessna 120 N1846N on the left there is still on the FAA register, and that's a BT-13 sprayer behind the B-18.
The cowling and air scoop on N66272 are distinctly different from sn 2505, N67947 above. It doesn't have cowl flaps but the trailing edge of the engine cowling does seem to flare out to allow air to pass through. You can see that better on this close up.
It and B-18A sn 2505, 37-505, N67947 are both on this 1954 aircraft auction (WORD). See more details on page 3 on Goodall here, under sn 2561
Douglas B-18A Bolo Bomber, sn 2562/3, USAAC 37-562/3
B-18A 7562 or 7563, making it sn 2562 or 3, and USAAC 37-562 or 563. If 37-562, Baugher says it was lost at sea in the Caribbean 1/29/44. Here's a closeup of the nose with one of the B-18's three .30-cal. machine guns.
The info at the bottom, as seen on the whole photo says, "#38 B-18A (Camouflaged) Munic. Airport, Sacto, Calif (2-23-42) 6R Restricted" and you can see this stamp on the back.
It has the 23E50 Hydromatic props and note that the engine cowling is different from some earlier ones. It does not have the horizontal line across the front at the top like many including 2505, and it is more rounded at the front. Also note however that it doesn't have the "flare" toward the back of the cowl as on 2561 and 2572. One of our disciplines in the DC-3 was to always ALWAYS straighten and lock the tail wheel to minimize the chance of the airplane being blown around. That's part of "neat and tidy" too!
Douglas B-18A Bolo Bomber, sn 2572, USAAC 37-572
and sn 2624, USAAC 37-624, later N1043M
Douglas_B-18 N1043M_photo
B-18A sn 2572, tail 7572, USAAC 37-572. Note the flared engine cowling and the cabin entrance ladder/step.
Camouflaged B-18A sn 2624, tail 7624, USAAC 37-624, with a different cowling than 2572. 2624, USAAC 37-624 was later N1043M, see Goodall p3.
Douglas B-18A/B Bolo Bomber, sn 2643, USAAC 38-593
N66267 Sprayer, Air Tanker #D-18, now at PIMA
N66267 flew freight and fishermen between Seattle and Alaska in the late 1940's, and then became a sprayer and air tanker for Lynn Roberts, Robert's Aircraft of Reno, NV until 1970. See history on Goodall's p4.
The 5/84 slide on the right shows it at PIMA (Tucson, AZ) before restoration. It obviously had been converted into a B-18B, and then had the B-17 firewall forwards with cowl flaps installed for civilian operators. And here's an 11/01slide showing it outside after restoration.
My wife Elaine and I were at PIMA in 3/09 and I got these shots of it. 1) Left front, 2) Belly, and 3) Aft fuselage. You can see that it has been restored to the original nacelle and cowling configuration, but one glaring inconsistency is that it has the wide, paddle-blade props instead of the typical toothpick blades!
Douglas B-18A Bolo Bomber, sn 2673, USAAC 39-25
N62477, Cargo, Sprayer, Gun Runner, Museum

B-18A sn 2673 has a more diverse history than most, which you can see on Goodall's p4. That looks like a very special "nose job" there and I'll bet it added several knots in cruise!

This 1971 slide would have been taken at WPAFB Museum, and you can see the cargo door. It has some kind of odd-ball main wheels, too.
  Here's the B-18 page for the Wings Over the Rockies museum in Denver, its present home.
  Baugher says, "to RFC at McKellar Nov 3, 1944.  To civilian registry as NC62477.  To Cuba in 1958 and used by FAR.  Returned to USA Dec 1960.  Rebuilt and preserved at Wings Over The Rockies Aviation and Space Museum, Denver, CO painted as 39-522.  Was at one time displayed at WPAFB then in Cannon AFB Museum. "
  I am offering my photo collection for sale, including these B-18 slides, negatives and prints.
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