Douglas B-66 Destroyer
Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  BOMBER, RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFTVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Douglas  

Douglas B-66 Destroyer

US Air Force involvement in the Korean War highlighted an urgent need for a high performance day/night tactical bomber. To speed the availability of such an aircraft it was planned to procure a land-based version of the A3D Skywarrior then being developed for the US Navy. To this end Douglas was given a contract for five pre-production Douglas RB-66A all-weather/night photo-reconnaissance aircraft, the first of which was flown on 28 June 1954 at the Long Beach plant. Although retaining the basic overall configuration of the A3D Skywarrior, the USAF's RB-66A Destroyer dispensed with the arrester gear, strengthened landing gear and wing-folding of the naval version; it introduced aerodynamic changes in the wing design, revised accommodation for the three-man crew who were provided with ejection seats, and detail changes in equipment, including a multiple-camera installation and the provision of bombing and navigation radar. Power for this initial version was provided by two 4341kg thrust Allison YJ71-A-9 turbojets. Successful testing of the RB-66As led to a contract for the first production version, the RB-66B powered by 4627kg thrust Allison J71-A-11s or J71-A-13s. The first of 145 RB-66Bs was flown in March 1955 and deliveries to the USAF began on 1 February 1956.

Production versions included also the B-66B bomber (72 built), which had the same powerplant as the RB-66B and could carry up to 6804kg of bombs in place of reconnaissance equipment; the RB-66C (36 built), which was an electronic reconnaissance and ECM-aircraft with J71-A-11 or J71-A-13 turbojets and a crew of seven including five specialist radar operators, four of them accommodated in what had initially been the bomb bay; and the WB-66D (36 built) combat-area weather reconnaissance aircraft with J71-A-13 engines and a crew of five (two plus equipment in the bomb bay).

ECM versions of the B-66/RB-66 proved of great value during operations in Vietnam, locating, classifying and jamming enemy radars, but withdrawal of US forces from Southeast Asia brought retirement of these aircraft.

Douglas B-66 DestroyerA three-view drawing (1000 x 567)

 ENGINE2 x Allison J71-A-11 or J71-A-13 turbojets, 4627kg each
    Take-off weight37648 kg83000 lb
    Empty weight19720 kg43475 lb
    Wingspan22.1 m73 ft 6 in
    Length22.9 m75 ft 2 in
    Height7.19 m24 ft 7 in
    Wing area72.46 m2779.95 sq ft
    Max. speed1015 km/h631 mph
    Cruise speed845 km/h525 mph
    Ceiling11855 m38900 ft
    Range3000 km1864 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm rear-firing cannon

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80
Mark Borgatta,, 25.08.2012

My dad worked for Douglas Aircraft for 37 years. I was 7 years old when my dad brought home a beatiful picture of the RB66. He worked on the RB66 at Edwards AFB when they were preparing it for classified tests in the pacific. Not much I know about it because it was all classified information and my dad couldn't talk about it. My dad and I both loved that airplane. While my dad was at Edwards AFB they were filming one of the scene's in the
movie "Towards The Unknown" in the same hanger that the RB66 was in. There's a great shot of the RB66 in that movie and the actor Lloyd Noland talks about the plane in that scene. While there they were doing test flights with the Bell X-1 and X-2 and all of the test pilots were always coming over to check ou the RB66. They all said it was a great bird. From what I know the RB66 didn't get a whole lot of service but it got some good time in Viet Nam in the 60's. It's still one of my favorite airplanes. My dad retired from McDonnell Douglas after 37 years of service and passed away in 1992 still raving about the RB66. Building a scale flying model of one is on my bucket list.

Doug de Ronde,, 24.08.2012

I was asst c/c with Johnny Connors on EB-66E 54-536 at Spangdahlem AB (69-72).I worked mids and did the pre-flight ck the day she went in at the end of the run way ON 9 SEPT 1969. Lt. Col. Esppe was the only survivor. Charlie Lynn sent her out that morning and came to the NCO club to let me know what happened.

Roy Herman,, 03.07.2012

Reference Will Koenitzer 6/12/2010 regarding the refueling hose not detached to the B-66. I was a radar navigation repairman at Takhli and helped repair the aircraft. When it landed the hose was still attached and had slapped the nose of the aircraft so bad that the nose of the aircraft had to be replaced. The aircraft's nose contained heavy radar equipment and the equipment had busted loose and was hanging by its electrical wiring. When the nose was replaced I had to level the gyro that kept the radar antenna level during flight. As I remember I had to place many washers under the Gyro to get it level which meant the nose was quite out of aline. I always wondered how the aircraft flew with that crooked nose but never was able to talk to anyone piloting that particular aircraft.

Perry Walek,, 26.06.2012

We lived at Shaw AFB from 1958 to 1965 my father was Capt Michael Walek he was a weather officer on a WB66. he retired as a Major and moved to California.

Tony Wilson,, 16.06.2012

My dad, Richard "Dick" Wilson flew the 66 and I think amassed more time in it than any other pilot, including the A3. He loved that plane. We have photos of him receiving "attaboys" from Douglas every time he got another 500 or 1000 hours. One of the photos was titled "Mr. B-66". I owe a special thanks to Douglas for getting him home from numerous SNAFU's and not so friendly situations in several parts of the world. Shaw has a beautiful RB-66 on display at the front gate that I go by and visit often.

Ronald Holland,, 10.06.2012

I was at shaw,AFB,SC were I worked on this acft as an assistant Crew chief from 63 to 65 .We had the RB's.Those engines were something else.we were winding down and getting ready to receive RF4c's to replace the RB'S .I hated to see her go,she was a great plane.

Jack McCoy,, 05.06.2012

I was a navigator-bombardier on the WB-66D at Shaw AFB, SC from May 1957 to May 1959. I was in the 9th TRS during the period and I was in the Weather Flight. Our Squadron also had the ECM B-66C models. Our flight was heavy into inflight refueling and flew non-stop from San Bernadino, CA to the Philippines. We participated in the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 at Incirlik AB, Turkey and flew each morning over Beruit, Lebanon at 3,000 feet as a show of force during the crisis. We flew non-stop from Shaw to Lyon, France by hitting two tankers enroute. We were gone 6 weeks and I missed my wedding to a lovely Sumter girl in 8/57. We also spent a lot of time at Kindley AFB, Burmuda scouting out inflight refueling areas for hiflights of F-100s going from Myrtle Beach AFB, SC to Europe. What a great bird and what great adventures!

Pete Cuipenski,, 28.05.2012

My first dealings with the 66's was at Toul Rosiere AB,France.May 1964-Feb 1966.While at Toul,we were transfered to Chambley AB,short distance away.Feb.66 Chas.DeGaulle gave all the U.S. miltary a eviction notice,and we parted with the armpit of the world.Most of us ended up being reasigned to Takhli AB,Thailand.Somehow i ended up in the U.S.Coast Guard aviation program and retired after 28 years.

Andrew Bradford,, 09.05.2012

I was stationed at Edwards AFB field 9 when we received the first B-66s. I worked on the K-5 Radar Bomb-Nav system. Then we were transfered to Alconbury RAF station then transfered to Sculthorpe RAF we were on the leading edge all was based on analog technology way before digital. What an experiance and a great aircraft.

Edwin F. Johnson,, 05.04.2012

I was a crew chief and flight engineer at RAF Alconbury from 1960-1964. Great airplane, a little under powered but reliable. Best assignment of my career. Ended with the C141 as flight engineer.

Bill Stricker,, 03.03.2012

I was a flight engineer in the 19TRS stationed at Toul-Rosieres AB, France and Chambley AB, France flying on the RB-66B from June, 1964 to June 1966. There was an earlier mention of one of the RB-66's being shot down on March 10, 1964. I remember this well since it was the same day that I received my orders to go to Toul. Capt. Holland was still there, but the two navigators were not. I met the squadron commander on his last day on the job there, before moving on. I am enjoying retirement as a docent at the Aerospace Museum of California at McClellen Park.

VIC MAYER,, 22.01.2012

Flew the C-model as ECM observer, 1957-1958; The B & D-models, 1958-FEB. 1960 as a navigator with The 10th TACRECON WG. Spangdahliem Germany and Bruntingthorpe England. After a 10 year tour in SAC (KC-97, B-47E, B-58) Returned to the C & E-models at Shaw. Jan-Mar 1970, then off to Thailand for 112 Combat Missions. I flew over 1100 hours in the bird, Total of 199 Top Secret ECH recce missions in Europe and Southeast Asia. Great airplane small engines.

Jim,, 13.10.2011

I was with the B-66's at Korat and at Clark during the 'PIN 6000' deployment to scrap the 66's Oct 73-April 74.

John L. DeJulio,, 11.10.2011

I crewed ar RAF Bruntingthorpe from 1960-1962, B66 serial # 442. I loved this plane ,the best airplane I worked on in 25yrs of service. Then did quality control. Went to Toul Rosieres AB France from 19662-1965. I'm looking for a model of the B66,resonable price,anyone have info where to get would be greatfully appreciated.

Bruce T Clark,, 04.07.2011

I was an instrument tech on the B66B at RAF Station sculthorpe England fron 58 to 62 then went to shaw and worked the RB and EB66 with the 4411th test sqd. I know she looked like a pig on the ground but I also know the flight crews loved to fly her

gregg feagans, gdfflyer=verizon,net, 28.06.2011

I worked on the Navy version as a fire control technician on the navigation and bomb director systems during two tours to Viet Nam, 1964-66. Heavy Attack Squadron Ten (VAH-10 Vikings) On my second tour flew combat missions in the third seat as air based trouble shooter. We had great pilots and crew our primary mission was in-flight refueling and pathfinders to targets and back to the carrier. No ejection seats in our version. State side we were based in Washington State at Widbey Island. Very old aircraft when I was flying as a crewman but solid as a rock with the technology on board and ability to switch from a bomber to a tanker. We saved lots of fighters that were shot up and got them home to the carrier.

Bill Golden,, 23.05.2011

I worked on the B-66 from 1964 to 1967. First in Toul Rosierre in France, then we moved to Chambley AB and shortly after that we took the aircraft to Takhli RTAFB.
Before leaving for Thailand we went to Spain and the crews practiced air refueling because the aircraft had a hard time keepping up with the KC-135.

Stanley R. Hunter,, 12.05.2011

CC on 66's at Shaw 68/70 with a TDY in Japan. Last assignment Ubon RTAFB 70/71 on F-4s

Donald J. Meyer,, 27.04.2011

I worked on the B and RB-66 at Douglas in the 50's. This was one of the first aircraft to exhibit sonic fatigue after several hours of flight. It occurred in the interior beaded skin of some of the control surfaces. We developed a process for polyurethane foam filling of the beads to dampen the vibration.

Jack Rookaird,, 12.04.2011

RE: RB-66 nose gear. Don't think gear same as A3D. Was Hydraulics (AFSC 42152) RAF Alconbury in 10 th CAMS on RB-66's Jan 61 - Nov 63. Also with 10TRW fairweather detachment in Morroco same time frame.

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80

Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -