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B-29 Frozen in Time

Ideas from Teachers

(Gr. 8-12)
I find NOVA's "B-29 Frozen in Time" program to be a great thought/discussion generator. There are many interesting themes running throughout the program, including: man's struggle against the elements and machinery, aviation history, personal loss, and eventually, classic tragedy. I would show this program as-is to any Social Studies or Language Arts class, and be prepared for some lively discussion.

Sent in by
Scott C. Schuyler
Harrisonburg, VA

(Gr. 9-12)
I use NOVA's "B-29 Frozen In Time" program in my Small Engines class.

I have students compare and contrast the B-29s radial engine to the automobile engine and the Briggs & Stratton, a small engine for which a lot of educational information exists.

I refer to the Spruce Goose, the wooden airplane flown by Howard Hughes. The Spruce Goose was made out of spruce wood, hence the name, and it used radial engines. I discuss with students engine rpm, torque, and propeller tip speed. Also the Caribou twin-engine plane used to bring equipment to help rescue the Kee Bird was equipped with radial engines. We discuss how the Caribou needed a new cylinder after blowing one during the rescue attempt.

I also talk about how the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) factored into the final moments of the Kee Bird when the fuel tank broke loose from its mountings and dumped fuel on the APU, causing the catastrophic fire.

Other topics that could be discussed include nose art, found on the Kee Bird's nose (for another example, see the movie Memphis Belle), and the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. For more information and photos of the Enola Gay, see the Official Web Site of of Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets at

Sent in by
Jack Kissler
Mt. Tacoma Senior High
Tacoma, WA

Teacher's Guide
B-29 Frozen in Time