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Mystery part for a bomber??

Posted By:
Jerry Ballard
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#1 Posted: 7/6/2010 13:45:17 Modified: 7/7/2010 15:08:03



I recently visited friends that had a glass dome reputed to be a part of a historic bomber.    They had one but it came from a person that had many of them.      The supply is no longer avaiable but my friends who possess this one would like to know if it is a part of a historic bomber and what it's funcion was?

Pictures are attached.

Please reply to Jerry@jbyrd-b52.com

Thanks for your assistance in resolving this question.

Jerry

Airplane glass 002.jpg

 

Airplane glass 001.jpg



Files Attachment(s):
Airplane glass 001.jpg (340592 bytes)
Airplane glass 002.jpg (656535 bytes)
Zack Baughman
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#2 Posted: 7/6/2010 14:54:47

 If it truly is off of an airplane, particularly a bomber, then I would think that it would have to be the window used by the navigator to take sextant readings of the stars for celestial navigation.  Does it have any small parts numbers stamped into the metal band around the edge? 

Zack

 



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Jerry Ballard
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#3 Posted: 7/6/2010 15:16:50

Hi Zack,

There are no serial numbers on the glass.  What appears to be a band around the rim of the glass is just a ground edge.  There is no metal band around the rim.    There may have been one originally but it is not there now.

Jerry



Hal Bryan
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#4 Posted: 7/7/2010 15:06:54 Modified: 7/7/2010 15:10:08

An "astrodome" was my first thought as well, but it looks a little too "tall" for that to me - most of the domes I've seen are a half sphere or maybe slightly less.

Also, I can't say that I've ever come across one made out of actual glass (as opposed to plexiglass or Perspex or something similar, but that doesn't mean it's not been done.

Here's one from a B-24 for example:

 

 



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Tony Johnstone
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#5 Posted: 7/7/2010 15:28:30

If you look at the rear of the cockpit canopy of the Avro Lancaster, there is an astrodome which looks suspiciously like the dome you have, it is a lot taller than most.  The majority of the canopy was Perspex except for the pilot's windshield which was armoured glass, I wonder if the dome was also?



Zack Baughman
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#6 Posted: 7/7/2010 16:02:01

The B-29 had small dome windows near the rear of the fuselage for the central fire control gunner to see out of.  I'm not sure how big they were, but it would be worth checking into. 

Zack



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Hal Bryan
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#7 Posted: 7/7/2010 17:21:28
Tony Johnstone wrote:

 

If you look at the rear of the cockpit canopy of the Avro Lancaster, there is an astrodome which looks suspiciously like the dome you have, it is a lot taller than most.  The majority of the canopy was Perspex except for the pilot's windshield which was armoured glass, I wonder if the dome was also?

 

 

You may be on to something there, Tony - I still can't speak to the question of glass, but the astrodome on some Lancs certainly seems to be tall as you point out:

  



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Ed More
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#8 Posted: 7/8/2010 19:24:54

Hello Jerry,

The dome appears to be too small to be the Lanc astrodome. The first thing that popped into my mind was FLIR. It's about the right size but a look at a FLIR pod does not indicate a glass dome. Since it is glass, it is probably polished for control of distortion which is not possible with plexi. My vote would be for an optical device with 180 degree scan. Photography, gun sighting, bombsight, etc.

EdM from NH



EdM from NH
Ed More
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#9 Posted: 7/8/2010 19:32:57

Hello again Jerry,

Go to Wikipedia and search for Douglas B-18 Bolo. Notice the dome under the nose. Bomb sight maybe?

EdM from NH

 

P.S. - The B-18 was based on the DC-2 and entered service in 1937 when I was only 2 years old - what a memory!



EdM from NH
Walter Kuchta
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#10 Posted: 7/8/2010 20:42:10

I think that the dome was used to cover the drift sight on many of the older aircraft 



Ed More
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#11 Posted: 7/10/2010 20:54:58

Hello again Jerry,

I found another picture of the B-18 Bolo with a different nose configuration. This one had the bombardier above and a small gun port below. There was a small hole for the gun barrel and a metal frame to support it with the dome free to swivel.

EdM from NH

 



EdM from NH
Craig Cantwell
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#12 Posted: 7/12/2010 12:07:07 Modified: 7/12/2010 12:08:28

It looks a lot like the optical window on the B-52D and earlier rear gun sight. It's about the right size and shape for the early sights before they went to radar only units.

 

Craig C.

 



Taigh Ramey
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#13 Posted: 7/24/2010 17:23:26

I believe it to be the optical dome for either the periscopic gunsight for the B-36 or for the Y series periscopic bombsight used in the B-36 and B-47.

Here are some photos shamelessly stolen from Glens Computer Museum. Here is the B-36 sighting station:


b36_nose_station_left.jpg

 Here is the Y-4 periscopic bomb sight:

rep1.jpg

Looks like the same dome on both sights to me.

Glens wonderful computer web site can be found here:

 http://www.glennsmuseum.com/bombsights/bombsights.html

 

If you need a home for your dome let me know. Our Y-4 sight could use it. Thanks, Taigh Ramey www.twinbeech.com



Zack Baughman
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#14 Posted: 7/24/2010 20:13:32

I'd say Taigh had found the answer!  Well done Sir!

Zack



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Russ Zimmerman
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#15 Posted: 7/24/2010 21:01:25

Roger that.  I'd agree.  Tadaaaaa!



EAA #292524
Jerry Ballard
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#16 Posted: 7/26/2010 22:34:58

Nice research Taigh,

 

I believe you have solved the riddle.  Thanks.

 

Jerry