Inside the Enola Gay
Close-up photographs of the legendary World War II aircraft.
- By The Editors
- AirSpaceMag.com, May 18, 2010
"Of all the World War II aircraft in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum, the most significant is the Enola Gay." So write curators Roger Connor and Christopher Moore in the new Smithsonian book In The Cockpit II: Inside History-Making Aircraft of World War II, published this month by Collins Design.
"On August 6, 1945, in the first combat use of the atomic bomb, this Army Air Forces Superfortress from the 509th Composite Group dropped the 13-kiloton Little Boy on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, decimating it," the authors continue. "Even after the passage of six decades, its role in ending the war and the morality of the atomic bombings continue to be hotly debated. However, there is no endeavor that better illustrates the unprecedented commitment and national investment in combating America's totalitarian enemies than the pairing of the B-29 and the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb."
A total of 34 aircraft are featured in this third compilation of cockpit photos by NASM photographers Eric Long and Mark Avino. Here we focus on just one, the most famous B-29 Superfortress of all. About this image, Connor and Moore write: “To drop the Little Boy atomic bomb, Maj. Thomas Ferebee used a standard Norden M-9B bombsight coupled to the pilots’ C-1 autopilot to lock in the aim point in central Hiroshima.”
See the gallery at right for more images of the Enola Gay, which are from the book unless otherwise noted.