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  XB-15 "Grandpappy" Serial Number 35-277  
USAAF
6th AF

Click For Enlargement
USAAC Oct 15, 1937

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USAAF April 30, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing as XB-15. First flight on October 15, 1937. Prewar, this aircraft flew to Panama several times, including a bomb training mission.

Wartime History
Nicknamed "Grandpappy" with the nose art of an elephant in a circle. Painted with olive drab camouflage paint at San Antonio Air Depot in Texas.

Assigned to the 6th Air Force arriving at Albrook Field on March 23, 1943.

Extensively modified at the Panama Air Depot (PAD) at Albrook Field, including the removal of all armament, installation of a cargo bays for 2,500lbs of cargo, seats for 37 passengers and engine replacement with Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines.

Redesignated XC-105 on May 6, 1943. During July-August referred to as "EC-105". This aircraft made many long distance flights, including a non-stop flight to the United States, plus missions to Galapagos.

During August 1943, assigned to the 20th Troop Carrier Squadron. Sometime in late 1943 or early 1944, this aircraft was stripped to bare aluminium finish. Parked at Seymour Island Airfield in the Galapagos on April 30, 1945.

In service for eight years, the XB-15 carried more than 5,200 passengers, 440,000 pounds of cargo and 94,000 pounds of mail. It flew 70 cargo trips and 60 missions including anti-submarine patrol.

During May 1944, placed into storage at PAD at Albrook Field, possibly due to structural damage. Stripped of parts and the tail, the rest of the aircraft was bulldozed into a swamp to the east of Albrook Field.

Wreckage
The wreckage remains in the swamp where abandoned and slowly sank into the swamp.

Frank Holmann adds:
"Last time I saw that plane was in 1980 while visiting a friend we took a ride all over Albrook even to the back of the field which ends in a swamp, that plane was almost out of sight, nearly underwater."

References
Alae Supra Canalem page 150-151
My War Story by Frank Holmann page 40-42
Other sources state this aircraft was scrapped at Howard AFB during 1945

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

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XB-15

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