Role Heavy bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight 27 June 1941
Retired 17 August 1946
Status Scrapped
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 1

The Douglas XB-19 was a four-engined, piston-driven heavy bomber produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during the early 1940s. The design was originally given the designation XBLR-2 (XBLR denoting "Experimental Bomber, Long Range"). It was the largest bomber built for the USAAF until 1946, with the Convair B-36 surpassing it in size.

Design and development

The XB-19 project was intended to test flight characteristics and design techniques for giant bombers. Despite advances in technology that made the XB-19 obsolete before it was completed, the Army Air Corps believed the prototype would be useful for testing despite Douglas Aircraft wanting to cancel the expensive project.[a] Its construction took so long that competition for the contracts to build the XB-35 and XB-36 occurred two months before its first flight.

The plane first flew on 27 June 1941, more than three years after the construction contract was awarded. It was based at Wright Field from January to November 1942.[2][b] In 1943, the Wright R-3350 engines were replaced with liquid-cooled W24 Allison V-3420-11 by the aircraft division of Fisher Body in support of the XB-39 project.[4][5] As part of the program, it was equipped with engine driven auxiliary powerplants.[6][7] After completion of testing, the XB-19 was earmarked for conversion into a cargo aircraft, but modifications were not completed, and the aircraft flew for the last time on 17 August 1946. It was eventually scrapped at Tucson in June 1949.[8][9]

Surviving artifacts

XB-19A at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base before scrapping.

The new U.S. Air Force had plans to save the XB-19 for eventual display, but in 1949 the Air Force did not have a program to save historic aircraft and the Air Force Museum had not yet been built.[10][11] The XB-19 was therefore scrapped, but two of its enormous main tires were saved.[c] One was put on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah and the other has been on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, in the "Early Years" gallery for many years.[13][failed verification]

Specifications (XB-19)

3-view line drawing of the Douglas XB-19
3-view line drawing of the Douglas XB-19

Data from McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920: Volume I[14]

General characteristics



See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ The cost of the aircraft was estimated at $3,250,000 in 1941.[1]
  2. ^ While there, it took part in tests to measure noise levels inside aircraft.[3]
  3. ^ The tires measured 96 inches in diameter.[12]
  4. ^ XB-19A later fitted with 4x 2,600 hp (1,900 kW) Allison V-3420-11 24-cylinder engines


  1. ^ "The Job of Air Corps Test Pilots", Air Corps Newsletter, p. 23, 1941-07-01, retrieved 2021-01-09
  2. ^ Final Report: Investigation of Concrete Pavements on Different Subgrades (Report). Ohio River Division Laboratories. January 1946. p. 7. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ Beranek, Leo L.; Nichols, Rudolph H.; Rudmose, H. Wayne; Sleeper, Harvey P.; Wallace, Robert L.; Ericson, Harold L. (1944). Principles of Sound Control in Airplanes (Report). Office of Scientific Research and Development, National Defense Research Committee. p. 68. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  4. ^ Aircraft Program Operating Report, Fisher Body Division, General Motors Corporation, p. 59, retrieved 2022-02-15
  5. ^ McSurely, Alexander (1944-12-25). "Data on XB-19 Installations Aid Army's Big Plane Program". Aviation News. Vol. 2, no. 22. pp. 9–10. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  6. ^ Exner, D. W. (January 1944), "Parallel Operation of Airplane Alternators", Technical Data Digest, vol. 10, no. 1, Technical Data Library, Engineering Division, pp. 33–34, retrieved 2022-02-15
  7. ^ Miner, J. D. (September 1944). "High Frequency A.C. "Ups" Motor Performance". Aviation. Vol. 43, no. 9. pp. 126–127. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  8. ^ Kaplan, Philip (2005). Big Wings: The Largest Aircraft Ever Built. Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1844151783.
  9. ^ Wagner, Ray (2004). American Combat Planes of the 20th Century: A Comprehensive Reference. Reno, Nevada: Jack Bacon & Company. ISBN 0-930083-17-2.
  10. ^ "B-19 Arrives to Join Collection". Arizona Daily Star. 1946-08-18. p. 15. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  11. ^ "Air Force's First Giant Bomber, XB-19, Now Being Demolished", Technical Data Digest, vol. 14, no. 16, Central Air Documents Office, Navy–Air Force, p. 8, 1949-08-15, retrieved 2022-02-15
  12. ^ "Development of Retractable Landing Gear: They Tuck Themselves Away", Air Force's News Letter, vol. 24, no. 15, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, p. 15, September 1941, retrieved 2022-02-15
  13. ^ "XB-19 Main Landing Gear Wheel & Tire". National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  14. ^ Francillon, René J. (1988). McDonnell Douglas aircraft since 1920 : Volume I. London: Naval Institute Press. pp. 307–312. ISBN 0870214284.

Further reading

External videos
video icon Film of the first test flight on 27 June 1941
video icon Newsreel of the interior of the airplane