Lockheed B-37 Ventura 

(USAAF B-34 Lexington PV-2 Harpoon) 



The Lockheed B-34 "Ventura" was a light bomber and maritime reconnaissance aircraft developed to a British contract. The prototype Ventura first flew at the end of July, 1941. It was designated the PV-1 and PV-2 Ventura by the US Navy and British Commonwealth, and was a military development of the Model 18 Lodestar transport aircraft ,and the USAAF Lockheed B-34 Lexington. Its design also drew heavily on experience gained with the earlier Hudson bomber. The PV-2 Harpoon was the long-range version of the Ventura.

The RCAF purchased Venturas for service as a patrol-bomber with the Home Establishment. The first squadron to use them was 113 squadron of Eastern Air Command and Nos. 8, 149 and 115 (B.R.) Squadrons of Western Air Command.

A total of 1600 aircraft were built (known as PV-1 Ventura by the US Navy and British Commonwealth, and B-34 by the USAAF).

Lodestone ZK-BVE formerly AX756 in the RAF
The Royal Navy appraised only a single Ventura. It was brought to the A&AEE Boscombe Down May 1942, for handling, engine and gun firing tests.

          Fleet Air Arm history
            Lockheed B-34 "Ventura"
          Total FAA 1939-1945:             1 to A&AEE only
            First delivered to RN:              5.1942
            First squadron 1939-1945:        None
            Last served with RN                None

RAAF ventura in wartime markings

Aircraft Type:
Lockheed PV-1 Ventura 
(Lockheed B-37 Ventura)
I, V
Primary Role:
Assessed only by the RN. Light bomber and maritime reconnaissance
First Flight: 
31 July, 1941
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Only with A&AEE, 1942
Vega Airplane Company at Burbank, California
Two 2,000-h.p. Pratt & Whitney "Double Wasp" R-2800-51A 4G engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 65.5 ft (19.96 m) 
Length 51.7 ft (15.77 m) 
Height 13.1 ft (4 m) 
Wingarea 551 sq ft (51.19 sq m)
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
empty 19,375 lb (8,788 kg) 
max.   31,080 lb (14,097 kg)



Speed 300 mph (483 km/h) 
Ceiling 26,300 ft (8,015 m) 
Max. range 990 miles (1,448 km)
Mk I: Two 0.303" above the nose, two 0.5" on the sides of the fuselage, two in a tunnel firing rearwards plus a Boulton Paul type C Mk IV upper turret; 500 lb bombs.
Mk: V: Martin 250 CE7 upper turret.
The Ventura GR.V flown by the RCAF carried six 250-lb. depth charges.
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History

None with the Fleet Air Arm

The Ventura was the aeroplane that Sq Ldr LH Trent, VC, Royal New Zealand Air Force, was flying when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his attack on 3 May 1943 on the power-station at Amsterdam. The citation reads, in part: "with cool, unflinching courage and devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds. Heedless of a mass murderous attack by enemy fighters and heavy anti-aircraft fire, he completed an accurate bombing-run, even shooting down an enemy fighterplane." Miraculously, Trent and his navigator were thrown clear of the downed Ventura and spent the remainder of the war as a guest of the Germans in a prisoner-of-war camp.

In addition, Venturas of Canadian Eastern Command (EAC) made two attacks on U-boats operating in Canadian coastal waters.

Ventura in RCAF markings

Surviving aircraft and relics
At least 9 Venturas exist in museums worldwide, including one which until recently was airworthy. Examples are to be found at the RAF Museum Cosford (UK)(ex SAAF Museum), Museu Aeroespacial (Brazil), MoTaT (NZ), Talasea (New Britain, Pacific), RAAF Museum (Australia) and the National Naval Aviation Museum (USA)

Once airworthy RAAF Museum: Mk PV-1 Ventura BuAer 33369 VH-SFF

Ventura NZ4600 preserved at Motat (NZ)

MOTAT Museum (New Zealand) Ventura NZ4600 (c/n4773) was built as 41-38117 for the USAAF, but was transferred to the RAF as FD665 NZ4600 (c/n4773)(ex41-38117, exRAF FD665).

Ventura AJ469 6130 SAAF607 preserved at the RAF Museum Cosford (UK)
Ventura AJ469 6130 SAAF607 preserved at the RAF Museum Cosford (UK)
Bomber Command aircraft in dismantled condition. Some deterioration of airframe due to over 30 years of outside storage in South Africa. Faded light earth/light blue camouflage scheme and dayglo nose panels, with traces of fuselage code ?LB-G; RAF serial AJ649 and SAAF serial 6130, plus wing and fuselage roundels.

RAAF Museum: Mk PV-1 Ventura BuAer 33369 VH-SFF
RAAF Museum: Mk PV-1 Ventura BuAer 33369 VH-SFF: VH-SFF rolled off the production line of the Vega Airplane Company at Burbank, California in 1943. Transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) under Lend-Lease, and re-serialled 2221, the aircraft briefly served in the RCAF's No 115(BR) Squadron before going into stored reserve, Western Air Command. After several changes of ownership until 1981, N159U languished at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida before being purchased by Aero Nostalgia in 1985, and restored to airworthy condition. In 1988 the aircraft was traded to the RAAF Museum, and N159U became VH-SFF, painted as A59-67 of the RAAF's No 13 Squadron. The aircraft was flown by the RAAF's Historic Flight until an accident in November 1996, and VH-SFF is currently in storage awaiting repair to static display condition.

Associations and reunions
FURTHER INFORMATION and the Ventura  Details of the RCAF Ventura, its specifications and battle honours.
Kiwi Aviation Images by P Treweek  Short history and gallery of preserved Venturas in New Zealand
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)  'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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