Boeing plant at Renton, WA three weeks before the first flight.
Good view of the internal bomb bays. Boeing obviously factored in the loss of lift that would be experienced with these doors open. Judging by the lunchboxes at lower left, the men are anticipating a long day.
The open overhead hatch tells us that this is a high speed taxi test.
Famed Boeing test pilot Eddie Allen takes in the view while the XPBB is towed to open waters on Lake Washington.
The XPBB-1 “Sea Ranger” was Boeing’s effort at fulfilling the Navy’s need for a better long-range flying boat. Such aircraft are always a battle between aero and hydro dynamic engineers, but the XPBB was a remarkably streamlined and efficient design. Internal bomb bays with sliding doors were incorporated into the wing were one such aerodynamic feature.
First flown on July 7, 1942, the XPBB proved a winner from the start and seemed to have a bright future, but…other forces were at work. Despite the Navy’s satisfaction with the project, Boeing’s talents (and factories) were needed for the B-29 program. This was given priority, and, with only one example built, The XPBB project was cancelled. The B-29 program, coupled with the Navy’s growing lack of enthusiasm for the future of large flying boats, caused the one and only XPBB-1 Sea Ranger to became known as the “Lone Ranger”.