The Bombshell Attempts Record

The Bombshell Attempts Record

By Joseph R. Stroud

On April 16, 1947 at 0506 GMT a silver and blue, converted Douglas A-26 Invader, Attack Bomber, dubbed the "Bombshell", streaked across LaGuardia Field in New York. The aircraft had departed New York 78 hours and 55 minutes earlier on an around-the-world record breaking flight.  Aircraft owner, 54 year old Milton Reynolds, millionaire Chicago pen manufacturer, and his crew had just cut 12 hours and 19 minutes off the record set by Howard Hughes in July of 1938.  Along with navigator Reynolds on the flight was pilot Captain William Odom, veteran Himalaya hump flyer and flight engineer T. C. Sallee.

Reynolds had hoped to make the trip in 55 hours, however, he was denied permission to overfly Russia and encountered and flat nose tire in Cairo, radio trouble in Paris and additional mechanical problems in Alaska causing a loss of several hours. Reynolds carried with him a specially engraved pen for General of the Army Douglas McArthur to be delivered during the refueling stop at Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo.


Odom said that the plane had averaged 360 mph on the Paris-Cairo leg. On the first hop from New York to New Foundland it hit speeds as high as 475 mph, with the help of strong tail winds. As the crew stepped from the cockpit of the plane in New York, and crowds broke through police lines to greet them, a haggard Reynolds commented,  "I wouldn't make the trip again for a hundred million dollars". NOTE:  Joseph R. Stroud was stationed in Japan, assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron (L),  "The Devil's Own Grim Reapers" of the 3rd Bomb Group (L),  equipped with the A-26 aircraft. He served as crew chief/flight engineer and is familiar with the acft. The Max speed of most models is 350 mph.

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