Consolidated LB-30 (B-24A) Liberator
Allied Heavy Bomber & Priority Transport

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The Ghost Squadron's LB-30 Diamond 'Lil.

Image source: The Confederate Air Force Ghost Squadron CD-ROM produced by Corel. Photos by Bill Crump.

Designed as a bomber with a longer range and heavier bomb load than the Boeing B-17, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was one of the principal U.S. heavy bombers of the Second World War.

The prototype XB-24 made its first flight on 29 December, 1939, and with the war in Europe a reality, orders were received by Consolidated from the French and British as well as the U.S. Army Air Force. Thus, the first models to be produced were paid for by the British with hard cash, prior to the commencement of Lend-Lease, and delivered as LB-30As, (being the 30th design in Consolidated’s Land Bomber series.)

Due to their long range and capacious fuselage, some LB-30s and other early B-24s were converted to high-priority transports and used to ferry pilots and other important passengers and cargo across the Atlantic between the U.S. and Britain.

The CAF Liberator is one of these very early LB-30s, the eighteenth off the production line, which due to an operational accident while being delivered to Britain, never made it across the Atlantic, staying in North American.

The CAF purchased the Liberator from the Pemex Oil Company of Mexico in 1967. The aircraft has been restored back to LB-30 configuration and is currently painted and marked as a member of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force.

Today, the CAF LB-30, nicknamed Diamond Lil, is one of only two or three B-24s still flying in the world and is the earliest airworthy version. She is normally on tour through out the United States during the air show season from April thru October, often accompanying the B-29 Superfortress, B-17 Flying Fortress and other aircraft of the CAF Ghost Squadron.

During the winter months, she is based at CAF HQ in Midland, where the lengthy process of regular maintenance and inspection is performed, to get her ready for another year of active service.

Specifications

Crew of Eight to Ten

Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-33 Engines
Twin-row 14 cylinder Air-cooled Radials
1,200 hp @ 2,700 rpm

Six .50 caliber Machine Guns
Two .30 caliber Machine Guns
Up to 4,000 lbs of Bombs
(up to 8,800 lbs in later models)

Max. Speed 292 mph @ 15,000 feet
Cruise Speed 228 mph

Climb to 10,000 ft in 5.6 minutes
Service Ceiling 30,500 ft

Length 63' 9"
Height 18' 8"
Wing Span 110'

Max. Weight 53,600 lbs
Empty Weight 30,000 lbs

Maximum Range 2,200 miles

 

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All material not specifically credited is Copyright by Randy Wilson.