Images, Impressions and Applications of the RB-29
in the Korean War
An Aerial Photographer’s Point of View
by Wayland Mayo

The basic RB-29 had a camera compartment just behind the gunners section. The cameras sat in a recessed well in the bottom of the plane. Each camera had a glass window to shoot through, and each window had a blower to keep ice from forming and to keep it from fogging up. The complete Radar section was mounted above the cameras. Next to the rear door as you entered the camera compartment was the tri-metrogon set up. It consisted of three cameras of six inch focal length. The center camera was mounted to shoot straight down, a camera mounted on each side of it shot at an oblique angle. The total coverage of the set up was 194 degrees, from seven degrees above left horizon to seven degrees above the right horizon. All three cameras were mounted in a fixed mount.

The next camera set up contained a “split vertical” mount which held two 40 inch focal length cameras with focal plane shutters and mounted at a 7 _ degree angle toward each other so as to take side lapping photos. This mount could be changed and different cameras installed.

The next camera set up was the primary camera, usually a 12 inch focal length. This camera could be leveled by correcting for tip, tilt, and swing. Next to the photographer was the viewfinder which had a ground glass on which the image could be seen. The viewfinder was the most important piece of equipment as the photographer obtained all the information needed to control all of the cameras.
On the ground glass there were etched lines, the photographer with a stop watch timing the amount of time for an image to travel between them. The photographer sat in the camera well looking down into the view finder. It was his job to determine all the information required to satisfactorily produce the required results. Forward overlap on the photos had to be 60 percent. Mounted on the side of the aircraft to the left of the photographer was the panel which held the intervelometers, one for each camera. These were set with information obtained from the viewfinder, and would trip each camera at the predetermined interval.

A most important relationship was the photographer working closely with the Navigator. It was the navigators job to inform the photographer when to start the cameras, when to stop, and give the photographer the geographical coordinates of the beginning and end of every flight line. The photographer kept a flight card containing all the pertinent information of every exposure taken on the flight. A photo is worthless unless it is known where it was taken. It was not unusual for an RB-29 to carry 20 loaded magazines, along with extra film.

End of Chapter 03 — Go to Chapter 04

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