Update: Thanks to Paul Martin, author of the multi-volume history Beneath The Shadow of Wings, Untold Stories from Mitchel Field, Long Island, we now learn how dozens of bathing suit-clad women came to be pictured cavorting atop the XB-15. The year is 1940, and Major Caleb V. Haynes and his crew had just been awarded the Mackay Trophy for their exemplary 1939 XB-15 flight that brought relief supplies to an earthquake-devastated Chile. Capitalizing on that fame, the XB-15 made numerous well-publicized visits, including one to Mitchel Field on September 13, 1940.
Enter “Billy Rose’s World’s Fair Aquacade” and his “beautiful aqua-belles”. The “Aquacade” had been a smash hit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair (Johnny Weissmuller of “Tarzan” fame was one of the stars), and in a massive public relations/recruitment event, dozens of these “aqua-belles” were invited to join Mitchel Field officers for a day of fun in the sun while standing atop the Air Corp’s most giant bomber.
Want to learn more about Mitchel Field’s history? Visit Paul Martin’s website https://mitchelfield.weebly.com/for hundreds of great photos and information (you can order his books there too).
2 thoughts on “XB-15 Bomber Bedecked with Bathing-suited Bronx Beauties”
Flight of the B-15?
Hmmmm, now where have I seen that paint scheme before?
Even the nacelles look similar.
I wonder . . .
If the “Flight of the Phoenix” passengers had been all bathing beauties instead of a disgruntled model aircraft designer, pompous British officer, and an assortment of oil-driller rough necks, Jimmie Stewart would have opted to live out his days in the desert.