“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
Illustration for article titled Which bomber had a greater wingspan: The Boeing B-29 Superfortress or the Beardmore Inflexible?

If you picked the Beardmore Inflexible, you would be right. And not by just a little bit. The wingspan of the super-high-tech Superfortress measures 141 feet 3 inches, while the inflexible Inflexible beat that mark by more than 16 feet, stretching out to 157 feet 3 inches. That’s even slightly greater than a Boeing 767-300.

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Illustration for article titled Which bomber had a greater wingspan: The Boeing B-29 Superfortress or the Beardmore Inflexible?

The Inflexible was an experimental bomber that took its maiden flight on March 5, 1928 and got its name from its stressed skin construction, which Beardmore, a Scottish company known more for building ships, licensed from the German airplane builder Rohrbach. Fully loaded, the Inflexible weighed in at a whopping 37,000 pounds, which turned out to be no match for its three Rolls-Royce Condor V-12 engines.

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Illustration for article titled Which bomber had a greater wingspan: The Boeing B-29 Superfortress or the Beardmore Inflexible?

Not only were the Inflexible’s wings longer than the B-29, its wheels were also bigger. Much bigger. In fact, all that remains of the Inflexible is one of its giant wheels, which resides in the Science Museum in London. Underpowered and oversized, just one Inflexible was ever built, and it was scrapped in 1930.


For more stories about aviation, aviation history, and aviators, visit Wingspan. For more aircraft oddities, visit Planes You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of.

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