Convair B-36
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Convair B-36

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.

Convair B-36

 ENGINE6 x P+W R-4360, 2575kW
    Take-off weight162162 kg357508 lb
    Empty weight72051 kg158846 lb
    Wingspan70.1 m230 ft 0 in
    Length49.4 m162 ft 1 in
    Height14.3 m47 ft 11 in
    Wing area443.3 m24771.64 sq ft
    Max. speed696 km/h432 mph
    Cruise speed362 km/h225 mph
    Ceiling13700 m44950 ft
    Range w/max.fuel16000 km9942 miles
 ARMAMENT12-16 20mm machine-guns, 32600kg of bombs

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Ivan Skillian, 20.08.2010

I have heard that there was an on board communication tunnel complete with a one man trolley for the rear gunners. How did this operate? Any specs?
Ivan Skillian

eddie dutson, 29.07.2010

i can remember b 36s comeing into faiford in glostershire in the early 50s what a site masive aircraft very distinctive engine sound i loved them

John Lutz, 20.07.2010

My first flight in any aircraft a young 18 year old, was in a B-36 in 1955, as a Bombing Navigation System technician. This was one of the most awesome and memorable events of my life, one I'll never forget. I also went on to become a proud member of the B-36 Hundred hour club... flight personnel who accumulated more than 100 flying hours flying time in B-36's. Later, B-52's replaced the B-36 at Loring AFB, and I went on to fly as a Bomb Nav technician on B-52's before going on to other things in the Air Force, which I made a career of before retiring in November, 1978.

Eugene Haught, 13.07.2010

What was the total story about the B-36 that crashed in Canada carryiny 2 nucler bombs that were not armed and the pilot was never found. It took off from Eilson air force base in Alaska around 1950?

Ron Rayburn (s/sgt discharged , 07.07.2010

I was on a B-29 as ECM jammer for about 6 months, and then
transfered to RB 36s in 1954. Served as radio, ECM,& gunner
thru 56. You have to travel far to find one of the four
remaining planes left. Don't think we'll ever see one fly again. Too bad.

Barbara Martin, 27.06.2010

My husband, Harry Martin was on the 36 crew that flew non-stop from Okinawa to Dayton Ohio in 1953. I have a photo of the crew standing beside the 36---no identifying names, though. He was stationed at Fairchild 1951-1954.

Sturm, 04.06.2010

Hey, Steve Brent. I had a similar experience when I was in about the 7th grade. That was about ten years ago. As far as I know, the B-36 is still at Wright-Patt. I've always enjoyed the giant bombers and transports. I have a goal of seeing one of those obscenely huge Antonov 225's in person.

bob szatmary, 03.06.2010

at fairchild afb washington 53-55 i supplied power to start one engine or power for others to work on plane . unit was called a b-10 lots of missions.

Steve Brent, 03.06.2010

My dad took me to the AF museum at Wright-Pat in the 1960's when I was 7 or 8 years old and he said "look what you are standing by". I said "it's a big tire". He said, but a tire for what airplane? He pointed up and there was a B-36 right next to me. It was so huge it was awsome!

Stuart Fields, 26.05.2010

Fld Maintenance at Ramey A.F.B Puerto Rico 55-56. Engine change, cylinder change, turbo chance carburetor and fuel feed valve change. Those 4360s just never accumulated many hours without replacement or parts. You could stand inside the fuel cell near the fuselage. Also you could get very high off the fumes of the 115/145 even after the tanks had been purged and had a fan blowing air thru them.
Looked for a 72nd wing hvy bomber patch but couldn't find one. They must have had one at one time....

Herk Snyder, 17.04.2010

I flew the big bird as a bombardier,navigator and Engineer. On a long mission, takeoff Fri.aft and land Sat aft. early Sat. we were asked by a National Guard Pilot if he could make a few passes at us. After a couple of runs at us he pulled up on our left wing and said,"Do you guys know your number six isn't turning? I answered ,Oh yeah we shut it down yesterday! Not true of course but make for a fun story.
Herk Snyder,
Col. USAF ret.

Tom Drodge, 29.03.2010

Hi, I have been trying to get some info. on a convair U.S. B36 nuclear bomber peacekeeper plane that crash in nut cove, nl, canada on mar. 18th, 1953 taking the lives of 23 people including Brig. General Richard Ellsworth the commander in charge. I would like for someone who had flown that same night across the atlantic ocean on the other flights, the same night of the crash. also i would like to haer from relatives who had love ones die that same night in he crash. I am currently doing some research for a book. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated. Thanks from Tom Drodge

robert Burns, 22.03.2010

I wqas in Tac 729th bomb ersquadron K9 Korea in 1950 51 and transferred to ecm operator rb 36 ti rapid city afb in 52-54 flying rb 36 .we were a P crew and would like to hear from others..Would have stayed in but in late 1954 we were approaching landing when we heard one of our own did not make caught dune on approach and we had to assist in search and pick up of our buddies..36 wqs a great aircraft and gotta love the spot promotions

Bruce Bixby, 22.03.2010

I was trained as a B-36 electronic (electronic basic at Keesler AFB) gunner at Lowery AFB in 1952-3, after training, assigned to Fairchild AFB initially to the 92nd A&E (Aircraft and Electronic)squadron where I armed, repaired and disarmed all eight turrets of the planes of the Wing as required. Later I was assigned to Boardman Bombing/Gunnery Range(Oregon) TDY as a gunnery instructor. Finally assigned to a combat ready crew as a LLAft waist gunner in the 92nd Bomb Wing (326 Squadron) Lt Col Dauherty, captain. We flew typically every two weeks for 20 plus hours on simulated bomb runs with gunnery attacks thruout the western USA, Canada and Alaska. Near the end of my 4 yr enlistment, my crew was TDYed to Japan, I was asked to extend 6 months to go with the crew but stupidly declined.I was then reassigned to a crew in the 99th RBW in the 347th RBS to complete my tour. It was a great life and looking back realized what a great time it was.

Paul PUrdy, 05.02.2010

I flew the B-36 from 1956 to 1959 when they retired the last one in February. I was at Biggs AFB, TX, 95 BW, 335 BS. Great airplane and a whole lot more fun to fly than the B-52. I ended up with about 1700 hrs in the B-36 and over 10,00 in the B52. Other than being almost deaf I enjoyed every moment of the time.

Roland Sigler Msgt Retired, 24.01.2010

Was assigned to 492 bombsqd 7th bomb wing Carswell AFB. I was a radio ECM operator gunner. I flew from 1949 - 1960. Our crew major J.B Upton was selected as the best crew in SAC ands was featured in the Aug 27 1951 Life Magazine. Would like to know if there is any other crew member still living I would like to hear from them please E-Mail me as soon as possible.

Bill Bradley, 18.01.2010

I flew in the B-36 as a K Series Bomb Navigation System Technician from Carswell AFB from 1952-54.We flew around the US Radar bombing various cities, went to Morocco once with just one plane , to check out the facilities for future flights. While visiting the Pima Air museum in about 1989, I bought a B-36 baseball cap and later that day while I was wearing that cap, a fellow came up to me and introduced himself and said that he was the last person to fly the B-36. He was still employed by Mc Donnell Douglas at that time.

Paul Gettinger, 15.01.2010

I was assigned to the 5th bomb wing at Travis AFB from 1951 to 1955. I was a ECM technician and enjoyed the deployments that was a part of being in SAC. I never got to fly aboard the aircraft during my career in the Air Force but it later played a part in my future life. Once when I was on leave back in Missouri a funny thing happened. My father was listening to a radio broadcast of a St. Louis Cardinal ball game by Harry Cary. Harry's famous phrase was " Holy Cow". During this game he said to his side kick "Holy Cow" look at the size of that aircraft flying over the stadium. I told my Dad, that's one of my aircraft, a B-36. He said how do you know and I replied-its 6 prop engines have this resonance of it's own, and anybody working on this aircraft didn't have to see it to know what it was. After my discharge from the USAF I went to work for McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis. A new job assignment came up and the supervisor was looking for people that had big aircraft experience. Most of the old timers I worked with had only fighter aircraft experience since the company was a fighter manufacture. In the interview form I had to fill out it asked how many engines did the aircraft have? I put down 10. When I was called up for interview the supervisor asked (smart ass) what aircraft has 10 engines? The reply, the B-36 with ten, six recips and four jet. I did get the job which turned out to be an assignment to Hollaman AFB crewing a B-47. I still have a B-36 ash tray in solid crome, I dont smoke, but I cant part with it as it came from the BX at Travis way back in the 50's

Kenneth Wheeler, 05.01.2010

I was stationed at Travis AFB, Ca from mid 54 to mid 58 in the 5th A&E Sqdn. as munitions and weapons tech. It was an awesome aircraft. I did get to fly once on one as a maintenance tech on the bomb release system. Turned out that moisture was getting into the bomb release unit and freezing in the unheated bomb bay. This gave a false light indication on the cockpit bomb release panel. We actually had an incident of a 100 pounder falling off the rack because of it from the jar of the doors closing. That gets your attention. No explosion. Most of the 100 pounders were practice with a small smoke charge for spotting on range drops.

Bert Fletcher, 09.11.2009

For about three years, 1951-1953, B-36's used to fly directly over our home on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, usually at what I would guess to be about 30,000 feet. Usually one plane at a time, but sometimes a small formation. They were flying from Carswell AFB to Alaska and return. One morning a formation of about 4 or 5 flew over at what I would guess to be only about 10,000 feet. The noise was overwhelming! And they were leaving contrails at that low altitude. Cold!
When they came over at high altitude, always flying north, you could hear (And see) the plane(s) from horizon to horizon for about 15 minutes. The drone was awesome. I enlisted in the Air Force in 1955 and worked on TB-25's at Bolling AFB, DC, and Lowry AFB, Colorado. The 25's went to MASDC in 1958 and I was discharged in 1959. I really enjoyed those 4 years.

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