United States
Boeing B-29 "Super Fortress" Bomber Aircraft
A.A.F. Serial Number B-29-50-BW 42-24791
"The Big Time Operator"
History of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator":
This B-29 "Super Fortress" was produced by Boeing, Wichita Kansas. It was accepted by the United States Army Air Force on
October 17th 1944 as B-29 42-24791, craft number 4452 under the Block 50 contract with Boeing.

After acceptance, this B-29 was assigned to the 1st Bomb Squadron (Very Heavy), 9th Bomb Group, 313th Bomb Wing, XXI
Bomber Command, 20th Air Force.
B-29 42-24791 was given the name "The Big Time Operator" and painted with the nose art of the Walt Disney character
"Donald Duck" wearing radio headphones.

B-29 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" was flown on 46 Combat Missions over Japan from Guam and Tinian during 1945.
Her mission list includes (not yet complete as of the publishing of this page):
February 8th 1945 - XXI Bomber Command Mission 27 to Truk
March 16th 1945 - XXI Bomber Command Mission 43
March 24th 1945 - Attacked primary target, Mitsubishi Aircraft Engine Works, Nagoya
March 27th 1945 - Mining Mission Number 1
March 30th 1945 - Mining Mission Number 2
April 24th 1945 - XXI Bomber Command Mission 96, Primary Target
May 3rd 1945 - Mined Mine Field Mike
May 24th 1945 - Mining Mission 15
May 25th 1945 - Mining Mission 16
July 6th 1945 - Radar Scope Mission
August 7th 1945 - XXI Bomber Command Mission 319, Attacked Yawata Industrial Area

During 1945, the 1st Bomb Squadron rotated crews between all squadron aircraft. Because of this, not one single crew flew
 
"The Big Time Operator" on every mission. Her 46 Combat Missions were flown by the following commanders:
Shenefiel - 21 missions, Pulsfort - 7 missions, St. Dennis - 5 missions, Morris - 3 missions, Durkee - 2 missions, Hutchinson -
1 mission, Reid - 1 mission, Malo - 1 mission, Klemme - 1 mission, Nighswonger - 1 mission, Prehoda - 1 mission, McMahan -
1 mission and Abbott - 1 mission.

After World War Two, B-29 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" was flown back to the United States. She was stricken from
inventory in 1950 and transferred to China Lake Naval Weapons Station
, California. At China Lake "The Big Time Operator"
was used as a ground target with many other famous B-29's for decades of weapons testing.

The nose section was eventually recovered from China Lake and put on display at the Edward F. Beale Museum, California
until 2001. The Beale Museum closed and the nose section was transferred through the National Museum of the United States
Air
Force to the New England Air Museum, Connecticut. The New England Air Museum used the remains of "The Big Time
Operator" to restore their B-29 "Jacks Hack"
QuestMasters obtained the nose of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" in November 2012.

The cockpit greenhouse shown above was recovered from Omaha, Nebraska by QuestMasters for restoration of this very
historic B-29.
Original color photograph of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. The name LT. W.M. BLOOMFIELD is
painted behind the pilot position on the port side of the aircraft next to the Navigator position.
Note the covered tear shaped hole to the right of the word "Time". This is where the AN-148 "Rebecca" antenna was
previously mounted.
The name "Big Time Operator" has been outlined in white.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" Cockpit, Pilot and Navigator position, left photo.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" Cockpit, Co-pilot position, right photo.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" Pilot and Co-pilot positions, above two photos.
B-29 Cockpit nose "greenhouse", above photo.
This cockpit greenhouse was found by QuestMasters in Omaha, Nebraska in 2012. The window glass is original. The top two
sections are laminated glass. The bottom and center six sections of window are very thick plexi-glass.
The M-9 Norden Bombsight and C-1 Stabilizer were obtained for the restoration of the nose section of B-29-50-BW 42-24791
"The Big Time Operator".
History of B-29-50-BW 42-24791:
Craft Number: 4452
, Production Block: 50
Built under A.A.F. Contract Number: AC-19673-2
Contract Serial Number Range: 42-24420 through 42-24919
Gross weight 133,500 lbs.
, Wingspan 141' 3", Length 99'
Engine type: (4) Wright R-3350-23
, Max speed 330 MPH
Total cost $879,349 per aircraft - to include cost of aircraft, engines, propellers, and radios.
Manufacturer: Boeing, Wichita Kansas
Accepted: October
17th 1944
In 2018, QuestMasters commissioned a painting of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" with Ron Cole Aviation Art,
shown above. This painting depicts the "BTO" on a night-time raid with other 1st Bomb Squadron B-29's over Japan.
It is available for purchase on the Ron Cole Aviation Art website:
https://roncole.net/collections/warbirds-of-world-war-ii/products/boeing-b-29-superfortress-big-time-operator
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator"
RESTORATION PENDING:
WARTIME PHOTOS OF B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator"
AFTER WWII: CHINA LAKE, BEALE MUSEUM, NEW ENGLAND AIR
MUSEUM AND ONTO QUESTMASTERS
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" as shown with 40 bombing missions, 8 mining missions and 2 Japanese
aircraft painted on the nose, above two photos. These two photos were taken on Guam in 1945. The Air Plane Commander is
Lieutenant C.L. Pulsfort, Crew Chief H.J. Fomby and Navigator Lieutenant W.M. Bloomfield. The AN-M2 .50 caliber
machine-guns have been removed from the upper and lower turrets in these two photos. The M-9 Norden Bombsight is
mounted in the nose, but is covered. The name "Big Time Operator" has been outlined in white.
Original color photograph of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. The Air Plane Commander Lieutenant C.
L. Pulsfort
has been applied to either a sanded or silver painted section of skin. Crew Chief H.J. Fomby and Navigator
Lieutenant W.M. Bloomfield
are also painted on this side of the aircraft. NO SMOKING WITHIN 100FT is stenciled in red on the
nose gear door. Also note that "Big Time Operator" has been outlined in white at this point. The four AN-M2 .50 caliber
machine-guns are mounted in the top turret in this photo.
B-29's of the 9th Bomb Group, on a daytime bombing mission over Japan, 1945. The 9th Bomb Group aircraft are identified
by a large Circle with an X on the tail of all aircraft.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", not shown in this photo, carried a Circle X on the tail and a black 4 on both
sides of the fuselage.
In 1950, B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", as well as dozens of other B-29's, were transferred to the United
States Navy, and were used as gunnery ground targets at China Lake Naval Weapons Center, California
.
Although this is looked at with modern eyes as a horrible act, to use these aircraft as targets - this actually saved all of these
aircraft. In the late 1970's, the interest in these WWII bombers started to gain momentum, and they slowly started to be
recovered for preservation and restoration over the next several decades. Just about every B-29 in a modern museum was
recovered from China Lake (well-known B-29's such as "Fifi", "Doc", "T-Square 54" and "It's Hog Wild"), preserving them for
generations to come.
Only one B-29 remains in China Lake Naval Weapons Center, and it is on display at their museum.
In 1991, Academy made a plastic model kit of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator".
The nose section of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" was eventually recovered from China Lake Naval
Weapons Station, California
and put on display at the Edward F. Beale Museum, California until 2001, when the museum
closed
. The nose section was then transferred through the National Museum of the United States Air Force to the New
England Air Museum, Connecticut.
The nose section, shown here, was covered in a complete coating of automotive "bondo" to give it a smooth appearance and
then painted silver. The nose art is already starting to peel away in this photo.
The nose section of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" was transferred through the National Museum of the
United States Air Force
and is shown here at the New England Air Museum, Connecticut in outside storage. The BTO cockpit
was used for parts to restore their B-29A-55-BN 44-61975, painted as "Jacks Hack".

The nose section, shown here, was covered in a complete coating of automotive "bondo" to give it a smooth appearance and
then painted silver
, which is falling off in this photo. The cockpit greenhouse, pilot window frame and bombardier's floor were
cut so that components could be removed from the cockpit.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. In this photo, the Air Plane Commander Captain E.F. Shenefiel, is
painted under the Pilot window.
Shenefiel flew 21 missions in the BTO. The Navigator is Lieutenant W.M. Bloomfield. The blue
field for the name "The Big Time Operator" has not been outlined in white in this picture.
Color photo of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. In this photo, the aircraft has completed 10 bombing
missions and 1 mining mission. The
Air Plane Commander Captain E.F. Shenefiel, is painted under the Pilot window. Shenefiel
flew 21 missions in the BTO. The Navigator is Lieutenant W.M. Bloomfield. The blue field for the name "Big Time Operator"
has not been outlined in white in this picture
and NO SMOKING WITHIN 100FT, has not been painted in red on the nose gear
doors. (photo from the estate of the BTO Bombardier Lieutenant Bettinger)
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. In this photo, the aircraft has completed at least 18 bombing missions
and
at least 5 of the 8 mining mission. Shown here is the Bombardier Lieutenant Maurice Edward Bettinger under the BTO
cockpit greenhouse. LT. Bettinger is credited with the two Japanese aircraft that were shot down by "The Big Time Operator".
(photo from the estate of the BTO Bombardier Lieutenant Bettinger)
Log book from Bombardier Lieutenant Maurice Edward Bettinger, above. Lt. Bettinger flew almost all of his missions on the B-
29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator". Of note, Mission Number 25 for June 1st 1945, Urban Area Osaka Japan, at an
altitude of 19
,000 feet, as position number 11 in the formation, 1 (Japanese) Fighter was shot down and 1 probable. LT
Bettinger is credited with two Japanese aircraft being shot down while crewing the BTO.
(from the estate of the BTO Bombardier Lieutenant Bettinger)
Log book from Bombardier Lieutenant Maurice Edward Bettinger, above. Lt. Bettinger flew almost all of his missions on the
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator".
(from the estate of the BTO Bombardier Lieutenant Bettinger)
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator", above. In this photo, the aircraft has completed 35 bombing missions, 8
mining mission
s and 2 Japanese aircraft have been shot down. NO SMOKING WITHIN 100FT. has been painted in red on the
nose gear doors and "Big Time Operator" has been outlined in white.
This photo was taken on Guam in 1945. The man in the photo is Guido Colon from New York City (not a member of the crew)
and is marked "To Lillie, Kisses, Guido". This photo was taken when Lieutenant C.L. PULSFORT was the Air Plane
Commander.
On June 17th 2013, Nicholas A. Veronico released the book "Hidden Warbirds: The Epic Stories of Finding, Recovering, and
Rebuilding WWII's Lost Aircraft".
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" is covered under the section for B-29's of
China Lake, page 213.
The book is available on Amazon, ISBN-10: 9780760344095 and ISBN-13: 978-0760344095
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator". In this photo the aircraft has completed 10 bombing mission and 3 mining
missions
, the Air Plane Commander Captain E.F. Shenefiel, is painted under the Pilot window. Shenefiel flew 21 missions in
the BTO. The
Crew Chief is H.J. Fomby, the Navigator is Lieutenant W.M. Bloomfield. The blue field for the name "The Big
Time Operator" has not been outlined in white in this picture.
NO SMOKING WITHIN 100FT. has been added to the nose gear
door. The upper and lower turret have all AN-M2 .50 caliber machine-guns mounted.
This is the last known photo taken of B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" just after the conclusion of World War
Two. This photo was taken at Victorville Army Air Field, California between October 1945 and February 1946, when
Veteran
B-29's were flown back from the Pacific to California to be readied for long-term storage or scrapping. This photo was taken
by S/Sgt. Earl Bloomfield, 4196th AAF Base Unit, Victorville Army Air Field, California. By 1950, B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big
Time Operator"
would be transferred 100 miles (North) to China Lake Naval Weapons Station, California.
(from the estate of S/Sgt J. Earl Bloomfield Jr. via grandson Ryan Bloomfield)
The above four photos were taken at Victorville Army Air Field, California between October 1945 and February 1946, when
Veteran B-29's were flown back from the Pacific to California to be readied for long-term storage or scrapping. These photos
w
ere taken by S/Sgt. Earl Bloomfield, 4196th AAF Base Unit, Victorville Army Air Field, California.
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" is among all of these Veteran B-29's.
(from the estate of S/Sgt J. Earl Bloomfield Jr. via grandson Ryan Bloomfield)
B-29-50-BW 42-24791 "The Big Time Operator" Cockpit, above photo.
QuestMasters
has been slowly sourcing parts for the restoration of the cockpit of the BTO. The Pilot and Co-Pilot seats have
been mounted, as well as the control pedestals, instrument panel stands, control yokes, replica cockpit plexiglass and many
other components.
Additional photos can be seen on the QuestMasters Museum Facebook Fan Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/QuestMastersMuseum/photos/?tab=album&album_id=122414721259093