The first intercontinental bomber, the Convair B-36 originated from a specification issued on 11 April 1941 which called for an aircraft with ability to carry a maximum bombload of 32659kg and, of even greater importance in view of the state of affairs at that time, to deliver 4536kg of bombs on European targets from bases in the United States. An unrefuelled range of 16093km was a prime requirement, with a maximum speed of 386-483km/h and ceiling of 10670m. Selected from four competing designs, the Consolidated Model 36 featured a pressurised fuselage, and 70.10m span wings with a root thickness of 1.83m to permit in-flight access to the six pusher engines. The aircraft was designed originally with twin fins and rudders, but by the time the XB-36 prototype was ready to be rolled out at Fort Worth, on 8 September 1945, single vertical tail surfaces had been substituted.
First flown on 8 August 1946, the XB-36 had single 2.79m diameter main wheels, also a feature of the YB-36 second prototype on which they were replaced later by the four-wheeled bogies adopted for production aircraft. In this form the aircraft was designated YB-36A and also differed from the first aircraft by introducing a raised cockpit roof. On 23 July 1943 100 aircraft were ordered but it was more than four years before the first of the 22 unarmed crew-trainer B-36A models took off on its maiden flight, on 28 August 1947. Production of the B-36 continued for almost seven years, the last example being delivered to Strategic Air Command on 14 August 1954, and the type was retired finally on 12 February 1959.
| ENGINE||6 x P+W R-4360, 2575kW|
| Take-off weight||162162 kg||357508 lb|
| Empty weight||72051 kg||158846 lb|
| Wingspan||70.1 m||230 ft 0 in|
| Length||49.4 m||162 ft 1 in|
| Height||14.3 m||47 ft 11 in|
| Wing area||443.3 m2||4771.64 sq ft|
| Max. speed||696 km/h||432 mph|
| Cruise speed||362 km/h||225 mph|
| Ceiling||13700 m||44950 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||16000 km||9942 miles|
| ARMAMENT||12-16 20mm machine-guns, 32600kg of bombs|
|Jerry Pattison, 18.12.2010|
I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, in 1954-55. I performed flight line maintenance on ECM equipment. The 28th Wing at Ellsworth had RB-36 aircraft, different from the bomber version. Our aircraft had 4 ECM stations, one in the radio compartment, and 3 in the aft compartment. I was able to fly a couple of times while on flight duty. Flight duty was rotated within ground crews. On one flight out of Guam, we landed with 3 reciprocals feathered. Was an interesting landing! We also flew 3 aircraft to the Philippines, then over Thailand, in formation! (The B-36 almost never flew in formation). This was a "show of force" for whatever government was in power at the time.
Someone in this forum mentioned Rechy-Tech folks. I could probably dig up some names of those who were at Ellsworth, if there is an interest. I am not aware of any Rechy-Tech reunions.
Mert Rima, we missed you at this year's reunion!!
|Buck Grim, 15.12.2010|
Would like to know if any flight engineers manuals are available for this A/C??
|Bert Fletcher, 11.12.2010|
I was stationed at Sheppard AFB, TX from January through July 1956. One month of solid KP and 6 months of aircraft maintenance training plus KP. I channelled through as a twin-engine recip mechanic, 43151A. There was a pretty tired looking B-36 there the whole time for training. I always wondered if it eventually flew out by 1958 or 59, or did they scrap it right there. Anybody know?
|Pat Bailey, 05.12.2010|
I grew up in Las Vegas, and there were several 36s stationed at Nellis AFB. All the local scout troops would be invited at least once each year to a big air show, with the Thunderbirds putting on a great show (I was in the Navy for my 32 years of military service, so I'm a bit partial to the Blue Angels, but I grew up with the T-Birds).
I'd bypass seeing the fighters and spend all my time around the 36s, wondering just how they could get something that huge off the ground.
Someone earlier mentioned the unmistakable drone of a B-36 at altitude and at speed. Many's the time I'd be walking home from school in Vegas and hear it and smile!
I can't forget about the one time in the middle 1950s, a B36 took off from Nellis and couldn't gain much altitude. It had to circle the city and land to the north. It passed directly over my grandmother's house at about 600 feet AGL. The noise was unbelievable, but reassuring. The sound of freedom. Yep.
|Bill Witt, 02.12.2010|
After A&E school at Sheppard AFB and B-36 Electrian school at Chanute AFB, I was assigned as a gunner for two years at Travis AFB in RB-36s. Spent about 900 hours in the airplane enjoying the sound of the engines and being part of an outstanding crew. SAC used to hold alert drills that took about 24 hours to get the airplane ready and we never knew whether the alert was real or not. We had survival training at Stead AFB in the winter time and about froze and starved for nine days up in the Sierra. I was privledged to climb out to the No. 1 engine in flight one time to replace a fuse in the electrical panel. VERY noisy! Of course, my favorite movie is "Stragic Air Command". I still stand up when Curtis LeMay appears on the screen (well maybe.....)
|Gerald D Wiggs, 28.11.2010|
I was an A&E instructor at Sheppard AFB from 1951 to whenever the school was disband. I then taught in A&E General School until I was discharged in Octobe 1954. I started in Phase 0ne which was familiarization of the aircraft and later went to props,engines,electrical and hydraulics..It was one fascinating aircraft. I loved the lumbering sound of the R4360 s.
|Jim Schierholz, 24.11.2010|
I went to A&E school at Shepard AFB, left there in 1952 and went to Fairchild in Spokane WA. While there I was an A&E mechanic with the 99 PMS until December 1955. I never did fly in one but did my share of inspection and maintenance work. I seem to remember that the tunnel that ran from the aft compartment to the camera compartment was only 30 to 36 inches and about 80 feet long, we had one fella that would go to the middle to sleep one off. He usually came out after we thumped the side of the tube in the bomb bay, he was always a little unhappy about that. I was one of the few that could wiggle my 190 lb 73 inch body thru the struts that were forward of the outboard recip engines. There's a fuel line in there that had to looked at. As far as servicing engines in flight,, I don't think so, unless it was something very minor, most of the engine was accessed from outside of the wing by removing panels. After doing inspections and maintenance for 3 years there wasn't any parts that I didn't have a good acquaintance with. I always look back at those years with good memories especially about meeting my wife to be. Had her for 52 years until the big 'C' got to her.
|Phil Sattler, 22.11.2010|
My uncle Denny was based at Carswell at Ft.Worth in 1950.
He circled my home town in a B-36 and reddeled every window in town. This was the 2nd time he came across town. First time was in an A-23 just above the tree tops on Saturday night. The 3rd time was in a B-52 at about 200 ft. That raddled the whole town!!.
|F David Thompson, 15.11.2010|
the model you show I believe is a B-36D yet you only show specs for the model without the 4 j-47 jet engines. Why?
As a pre-teenager, I would run outdoors whenever I heard the drone of this remarkable aircraft to see it flying overhead near Guthrie, Louisiana, a water stop for the locomotives on the Arkansas/Louisiana/Missouri rail line (between Bastrop and Monroe). Later, a fried of mine who helped maintain the planes, said that if you flew them, they would need to be visually inspected for missing bolts, rivets, etc. If you didn't fly them, the metal might become fatigued. It was a fine experience to inspect a B-36 in a museum setting near Dallas.
|Bill Grubb, 07.11.2010|
I was stationed at Loring AFB Maine and had the privilage flying on this outstanding plane. It was a hair raising experience I will never forget. Served as a fire control Tech. ( tail radar an retrack turiets).
|Glenn Shuck, 31.10.2010|
I had flew on the RB 36 WE HAD PHOTO LAB ECM AND WEATHER my afsc was Tail Gunner but flew all the gunner positions.I LOVE THE B 36 FROM THE MOMENT GOT AND YOU TELL THAT THE DRONING OF THE ENGINES DID'NT GET YOU.THE CREW WERE OUT OF SIGHT. I WAS AT FAIRCHILD AND BIGGS THEN CAME THE B 52
I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB from 1951 to 1954. You mentioned 28th Recky Tech reunionss. Do you have any info. on them?
|LEONARD HILLIARY, 20.10.2010|
I SERVED IN THE 99TH SRW 348 SRS AT FAICHILD AFB 1952-1956
ON B-29,RB36, AND GRB36 UNTIL THEY WERE DECOMISSIONED THEN ON TO B-52'S UNTIL RETIREMENT. I WAS CREWCHIEF AND QC INSPECTOR IN THE 15th, 8th AND 2nd AIR FORCE
|vi Bielefeldt, 16.10.2010|
I was a navigator crew member on this a/c. Had a great time. You know it never fired a shot in anger. Treated me well. Later as a fighter pilot I flew top cober for a B-36 flying down the Siberian Coast. I flew from Eilson AFB in an F-84 F.
|Crawford Hardy, 11.10.2010|
Hi Stuart Fields. Was stationed at Ramey AFB Puerto Rico 53-55 in Wing Operations. Since the 72nd Wing was a Recon.
Wing there won't be a 72nd heavy bomber patch, but I have a patch for the 72nd Strategic Recon Wing, 2nd AF, but have misplaced it now, which is par for the course. Good luck in finding one. The 36's were an awesome machine.
|Bruce Freeman Mst. Ret., 08.10.2010|
Dallas Love Field TX. !st RBSGP Det 1 Later part of Combat Evel GP. Those 36's would come in and shoot landings and everything shook. We scored simulated bomb runs in Dallas area. lots of 2nd bomb wg activity from Carswell, FT. Worth
I'll attest to the 36's accuracy.
|Darlene Howe, 04.10.2010|
I grew up in Tucson, AZ, where my mother worked at the Base Exchange office at Davis Monthan AFB. I remember pulling myself along by the rope, on the sled, in the fuselage of the B-36. We were attending an air show at DMAFB and I just had to try it out. Great experience. Thanks for the chance to share this memory.
|H. Wayne Wilbanks, 25.09.2010|
While attending Radio Tech School at Scott AFB, Belleville, IL, one of our instructors related this story of witnessing a B-36 make an emergency landing at Scott AFB, a fighter base. Of course, the runway was not adequate.
On his approach, the pilot reversed the engines as he passed over the road at the end of the runway; tires squeeled all the way down the runway 'till it stopped about 6 feet from the other end. Because runway could not support it's weight, they had to move it every couple of hours until it could be disassembled and hauled out.
I don't know if this story is true, but I have no reason to doubt it, anyway it's a fascinating story.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?