One of the greatest single factors that keeps US military planes leading the world parade is Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio. Here new designs are conceived, specifications drawn, orders issued and finally, finished airplanes and parts are tested. The Field is part of the Air Corps' Materiel Division and materiel means every ounce of equipment from a rivet to a complete flying field. In the 750 acres are 50 hangars, shops laboratories, and a 500-acre flying field. Some 200 Air Corps officers supervise about 2,500 civilians. In the twelve months preceding last October, Air Corps contracts of approximately $200,000,000 were passed on at the Field, indicating a vast business enterprise as well as a scientific laboratory.
Every American plane, commercial and military, is more efficient due to research done at Wright Field. Improved types of engines, superchargers, high octane gasoline, night airways, airport lighting and many other now-common devices originated at Dayton, as well as propellers having less vibration, improved instruments, de-icers, radios and much other equipment.
This article was originally published in the April, 1940, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 39, no 4, p 34.
The PDF of this article [ PDF, 3.5 MiB ] includes a detail photo of a top gunner on a B-17B and shot of a B-17B from 1 o'clock low.
This copy is abbreviate from the original article to show only the photos of the B-17.
Photos are not specifically credited, but are probably USAAC.
The photo of the gunner shows a .30-cal gun with ring-and-post sight; there does not seem to be a fairing or blister to protect the gunner.