Douglas B-66 Destroyer
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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 81-100 101-120
Don I Phillips, Capt, USAF, Re, 21.03.2015

I can make some observations about E-Model 54-536 crashed off the S departure at Spang,Oct 9,'69. It was my crew. Pilot Capt Ken Kelly and recent EWO 1st Lt Tony Holly just back from Thailand year tour (any call him by first name John didn't ever know him). I was off TDY ferrying the Bitburg Goon to Davis-Monthan for salvage. Was sitting at the duty desk 2nd week Sept when Maj Smiley Pommeroy, Asst Ops came in and said. "Phillips, get out your dancing shoes, you're flying home". USAFE was retiring all C-47s, Bas Ops flyers, usually, for either conversion to Puff Gunships in FL or bone yard salvage. Computer had spit me out as most qualified celestial, trans-ocean Nav qualified with B-52 time. Met my crew of Chief Ops and Training Spang, a Major returning to US, Co-pilot 1Lt Airfield Mgr, a mechanic crew chief and a radio operator for briefing and test hop. I was issued a bubble sextant and pilot had a little plexi window cut on skin by the nav table. Fri Sept 19 we left for a RAF base refueling RON at Lossiemouth RNAF carrier base N Scottland. I tied a sun line mid- cannel but found it was an astro-compass bubble dome and me and the sextant didn't fit. I made a smaller hook from a coat hanger but the off balance sunline fell back in Germany. No problem our other Goon assigned had Loran. Turned out with weather holds we flew alone to Iceland 2 days, Greenland 2 days and overnight at Goose on my 32nd birthday. Sept 24. Next day we landed at Dow for fuel and McGuire where we were diverted to FL not AZ. Meant me and rhe radio were finished. Next day I 2 hopped all way to LAX on VIP T-39s. after a long month's leave I was on my way back hop stopping with friends at Shaw. THAT was when I was told Ken and Tony were dead! Dumb as rocks sgdn never checked my Emergency Data info ( recall that thing in case you die?) and tried to find a Mrs Philips in Salinas. My mother was a Fletcher since 1950! Leave form said "self, home of record. Ken had been my student AT Shaw and we'd agreed to crew up at Spang that May Terry Kelly was one super lady from the time I saw her drive in from Kansas in their red and black Austin-Healy. She'd asked for me as escort officer with her to Arlington but they did not locate me at all.I can never bring myself to forgive them that! My real replacement that day was Lt Col Frank Fucich our Exec, no matter what silly people claim. Tough old bird survived 6 moths burn ward in Wiesbadden and we became close friends. We bonded as he was in MY seat Oct 9th and knew it. After he retired on disability in '73 became My best advisor when I was disabled out at Wilford Hall in 1777. We'd both bought
retirement lots in Cameron Park CA while he was at Mather Nav Bomb Tng Sqdn CO and me just back from SEA in B-57s. Dorly and I'd stop and visit each time through CA to Texas where I retired to be near neurosurgery department follow up. I can still recall Ken banging that elevator every run up that Spring and summer. We ferried a bird across from Shaw day after we watched Armstrong step on the moon. That Oct day the bell crank broke and froze in place and they went off the Alert facility end with a telephone pole cutting Kenny in half then right through Tony. Frank was sitting left side and fell out a tear by the engine.

Later I became Information Officer in new 52nd TFW and responded to the C Model crash where good friend Dan Craven, ()Dorly sold them their Audi at Capitol Motors in early '70) All crews since Ken had spoken of what to do if, and our plan was raise the gear and pull hard right. Don Harding IP, felt he could have trimmed it off but we watched Don unhurt crawl across the top and drop down to get Bobby Serman out badly injured. I was busy huggin Dan with all my strength. Same cause, seized,long abused,bell crank. Later I was assigned as Air Field manager 73-75 but could never get myself to drive down the decline where Ken died. Spent a summer '74 exercising first time ever a bomb damage repair group up from Baumholder Base leveling the rough terrain both B-66s ran across. My contribution to Ken's meomory.

About 1995 on a visit to Dorly's mom in Trier I picked up a rock for both of us. He thanked me and displayed it on the mantle Frank died in Jan 2004 23 years late. Don Phillips

Scott Schlessr, 12.03.2015

My father, Richard (Rick) Schlesser was a Captain last stationed at Shaw AFB. To the best of my knowledge, he was an EWO on a B-66. I think it was a RB-66C. I am not sure how long he was on a B-66, but I am pretty sure he was in the USAF from 59-66. I believe that he was an instructor for survival training as well.
Dad passed away back in 1993, and I never got many stories out of him about his time in Vietnam, or the Cuban missle crises. Any information would be great. Thank you all and God Bless each of you for your service.

WALTER B CLARK, 07.03.2015

I flew the last one 2/2/74 from the 39th TEWTS at Shaw and it is now displayed on a stick inside the front gate.

Chuck Schnorenberg, 24.02.2015

Flew as B-66 Navigator in early 1960's for 9th TRS at Shaw AFB
in SC. Many TDY's to Europe, especially England. Flew many missions on the E. German border. Would enjoy hearing from others. Flew in first Opeation Swamp Fox 1.

Gary Olsen, 31.12.2014

I was stationed at RAF Alconbury, England from 62_65 and was luck enough to spend the entire time as a flight engineer in the 1st tactical reconnaissance squadron. Spent many hours on Whiskey alert and in Morocco enjoying the warm weather and practicing our night photo capabilities.

Travis Brophy, 20.12.2014

Correction on Doug De Ronde comment about B66 crash at Spang. Germany. The crash date was 9 October 1969. Aircraft did not rotate from runway. Crashed into woods at runway end. Only survivor as Lt/Col. Fran W. Fucich. I know this to be factual, because Frank W. Fucich was my DAD. Frank passed in 2004 in Sacramento, Ca. Contact me at

Scott Andrichak, 18.11.2014

Hello Heroes,

I just learned my father, Stephen J. Andrichak, flew the B66 as an EWO in Vietnam. He told my mother he was flying supplies from Tachikawa AFB in Japan. We were there from 1960-1965.

I would love to hear from anyone who knew my father, as he passed when I was very young. I know less than my mother about his missions.

He also flew in the Korean War.

Call anytime to 941-623-9391, or email at

Thank you and God Bless you all for defending our freedom.

Scott Andrichak
Florida, USA

Robert M. Johnson, 25.09.2014

It is my understanding that the B66 did not have a co-pilot. Sure would like to get the straight stuff! Anybody?

don gilliard, 20.08.2014

I was looking at the old eb66 .I was stationed at Takhli.worked test cell on the J71.went to school at shaw befor i went memory is a little off that long ago.can anyone help me out on the location of things on base?

William R. "Tex" Summers, 22.06.2014

RB-66B Aircraft Mechanic Shaw AFB 4415th CCTS 1957-1960 Flew many missions as flight engineer in gunner's seat ($55 bucks monthly flight pay). Some of my squadron's planes came back from the '58 Lebanon flap with rifle bullet holes in them. One of our birds went down in the Atlantic near Bermuda on the way over. Pilot and Navigator were picked up by a fishing boat. Sadly the gunner was never found. I was
A/2c Crew Chief of TWO 66's last months of my 4-year enlistment. Frozen career field ??? I thought the 66's were fazing out then but now learn they cruised on a while longer. I didn't. Line Chief was sergeant Zane Allen. Tessaro, Jenschke, West, Knapp, Young, any of you pushing 80 guys still around? Did you stop telling folks you flew the "heavies" because no one ever heard of a B-66? Glad to find this nice '66 site. Tex

jim murphy 60/13/14, 13.06.2014

I was an assist c/c with the 9th trs 1958 to 1962 t/sg shire
was the flight chief ,I think M/sgt Madigon was the line chief. I went tdy to England, mendenhall or Chelveston I've been to both. S/sgt francis was my c/c the best I can remember. I stayed out for 15 years and Mc entire ang in
columbia sc >I met a SC girl at Carolina skating rink got married and settled down ( 55 years now) I've been around the world 2 weeks at a time 6 mo i saudia for 6 mo.80
1 8o3 408 1432

jim murphy 60/13/14, 13.06.2014

I was an assist c/c with the 9th trs 1958 to 1962 t/sg shire
was the flight chief ,I think M/sgt Madigon was the line chief. I went tdy to England, mendenhall or Chelveston I've been to both. S/sgt francis was my c/c the best I can remember. I stayed out for 15 years and Mc entire ang in
columbia sc >I met a SC girl at Carolina skating rink got married and settled down ( 55 years now) I've been around the world 2 weeks at a time 6 mo i saudia for 6 mo.80
1 8o3 408 1432

Jerry Forbes, 27.04.2014

Stationed at Shaw AFB, SC in 1956 as a Gunner. Transferred to Spangdalhem AFB, Germany from 1958 to 1962 with the B-66, but was grounded due to loss of hearing. The J-71's were really loud and high pitched. I loved every minute I flew in the aircraft.

bruce clark, 25.04.2014

I was stationed at RAF station sculthorpe with three squadrons of B66B and one squadron of KB50J tankers as an avionics instrument tech. in 1958 thru 1962 then transferred to Shaw AFB to work on the rb/ecmb66b

Britt Brown, 25.02.2014

My uncle was the test pilot for Douglas and flew every single one that was produced.

George Daigneault, 17.02.2014

My first assignment was at Toul Rosiers , France.I was a jet engine mechanic on this bird.I was their from 64 to 66 until the French kicked us out. I left their for assignment to Tan Son Nhut A.F.B. in Viet Nam. We were in the process of converting over to RF4C. I was their when we lost one of our aircraft over East Germany. I was also their when we held an air show for the locals.It was hard work keeping them flying. They would use up the whole runway for take off. As an engine man I think they were way under powered.

Farley Wayne Stallard, 28.01.2014

Worked on the radar rb-66 1957-1960 10th A&E in Spangdahlem and then in Alconbury England. First thing in Germany was, "we are getting a new bird and want you to build a radar mock-up". Ok what's a mock up? Hell I don't know. Here is a book and have it built before we get the bird. Thanks, 1st Lt. I learned real fast what a radar mock up was. I never wanted to wire up another mock up but that bird had 2 radar systems. I got the hardware and plugged everything in and now for the smoke test. 1st Lt. would you like the honors? Hell no, airman you turn it on. Turned it on and no smoke but the florescent light bulbs were acting kinda funny when the antenna came around. Hell I was transmitting inside the shop. Next thing the Lt. wanted was an operation manual. He said he wanted it so the operators (officers) could use it to operate the system and if he had to ask a question I would have to rewrite it and start all over. After 27 rewrites he could got through it without asking any questions. I guess I wrote the first book of "How to operate the radar systems in the rb-66 for dummies". Never had to work on the flight line. The shop was always warm in the winter and cool in the summers.

Ray Ismail, 29.11.2013

I was stationed at Spangdahlem in the 1st TRS from 54 to 58 and was an instrument specialist on the Rb26,T33,Rb57A/B,and RB 66. Loved working on the 66 the most.

H. Mike "Willie" Williams, 11.11.2013

I was a Crew Chief on EB-66-E tail # 54-546 from 69 to Oct of 72 at Shaw AFB in South Carolina. Was sent TDY to Korat RTAFB twice for a few months each in 71 and 72. I was on flying status all of those years and have great memories of cross country weekend flights back to Calif. to visit my girl friend. The times I spent at Korat RTAFB were special memories. We took aircraft over to Korat and brought back those needing special maint. I remember once having landed at Hickam Field being hand cuffed to the lt. main gear in Hawaii when the dogs found hash under the flooring of the crawl way. That unit always had a bad smell. The dogs went crazy when they got to it. The entire space was packed with it, it looked like it had been there for years(so rotten).The air police didn't know what to do with us, we were questioned for hours. When I offered a solution to their problem -that who ever put it in there must have intended to transfer back to Shaw to retrieve it, and apparently did not. They asked if I was going to Shaw... I said "we're all going to Shaw", I became the focus of the "investigation" if you can call it that. They finally confiscated the dope and let us go.
I remember those years and the great people I worked with like they were yesterday. If Sgt's. D'Anella,Gary Moser, Beecher,Bowen ,Gabbota ,or Somers should read this, we at I hope you and your families are all well, you have to be really old farts by now.

Richard Bogan, 09.11.2013

I was a jet engine mechanic at RAF Alconbury 1962 1964. Worked my tail off keeping them flying. Good memories

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120

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