enlisted 3/1951 4years. stationed at carswell, trained as an electrical specialist and did a lot of experimental modifications on the big bird. spent time at eglin in fla. some very interesting duty like taking high altitude pics of the captured mig 15 that plane was a true hot rot and we had nothing that could keep up with it at the time. did get to see a fire power demo with a 36 drop of 160 500 pounders at one a second, thank goodness the ruskies were watching as well. the crews competed by bombing most large us cities with radar to get there hits by reflection. we had no real targets , thank goodness..
Paul Gill, e-mail, 09.11.2012 08:55
I was assigned to the 95th at Biggs directly from basic in Nov '54. As the Flying Safety office clerk, later the Wing Directorate of Safety, I spent 4 years typing engine fire reports on those awful P&W engine. The configuration of the engines, icing problems kept me on that Royal manual typewriter distributing Flying Safety Messages to the Squadron Safety Officers. Knew the pilot of the "fuel starved" acft that crashed near El Paso International and many of the crew of the "short of runway" at Lake Worth at Carswell. Respected all flying and maintenance that supported SAC mission. I worked the Wg Control Room on Guam in '55 as the 95th relieved the 28th. Most rewarding 4 years of my 30 year career. P Gill, CMsgt 54/84 (ret)
Jim Hoak, e-mail, 31.10.2012 14:09
I was assigned to the 72 FMS, Ramey AFB. Puerto Rico in 1957. Worked on the R-4360's till we retired the last bird in 1959. I always loved the sound of those engines on take-off. The 72nd received the U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for Operation Curtain Riser with this aircraft. I was proud to be a part of that along with all my fellow A.F. comrades.
Richard Haas, e-mail, 16.08.2012 19:15
I wish the miltary channel would do a documentary, about this wonderful plane and the crews. It is probably one of the most important AC in our history and the people who flew in it. My brother was a FLT Engineer and intructor on one, and oh the stories he he told. One story was when one of the outboard engines had a runaway prop on take off and two thirds down the runway, going thru all the adjustments, power etc with anew student. in the end all came out fine. But the excitement was really something else.
R J Crawley, e-mail, 09.07.2012 16:36
During my enlistment, I was trained as an an aircraft electrician , at Chanute, and then sent to Lowery for training as aircrew gunner AFSC 42351E. I was assigned to 5th Recon Bomb Wing, 31st Recon Bomb Sqdn, crew L21F, Travis, AFB during period Mar '55 to Dec '57. All our birds were "H" model "RB's". Have lots of memories of long flights, 24-48 hrs, most were pleasantly boring, but there were a few scary times. Lots of oil leaks, with shut down engines. and an occasional engine fire. Like every other person,who flew the plane, the sound, I can still remember, after a few hours of flight, it seemed to sink into your body, and you became a part of the plane. When you got back to the barracks, you would still vibrate the next day. As I look back on that period of my life, I am especially proud of being a part of the Air Force during the cold war.
Jim Curgow, e-mail, 23.06.2012 20:07
I went thru basic elec., B-36 TG Radar & Control, Flt crew training all at Lowry AFB, Denver, then was assigned to Ramey AFB in PR, then assigned as Tail Gunner on RB-36 crew in 73rd Recon. Sqdrn. After 26 months Crew S-43 rotated to Carswell AFB, Ft. Worth. Even tho I did not have my 36 mos. in, I was fortunate enough to stay on crew and transfer with them to Ft. Worth. I owe so much to my AF training. I served my four years, then got my degree in Elec. Engineering from TEXAS A&M. I thank the AF for my electronics trng, which made the EE degree possible. Also, I really enjoyed flying with a top notch B-36 crew
Thanks to AF and the electronic schools for really laying the groundwork for my very sucessful career in electronics.
Dick Ingerle, e-mail, 14.06.2012 02:33
I was a B-36 tail radar gunner at Fairchild AFB 1952-54. 327 Bomb Sqdn. on Col. Frank Sanders crew. We had quite a few hairy flights also. Explosive decompression at 40,000, a hard landing in 0 visablity and many lost engines but it was great on a crew that was like family.
James F. Litchfield, e-mail, 19.04.2012 20:15
In addition to my previous posting about my father, James E. Litchfield... his units were 60th bombardment squadron H (SAC)out of Ramey AFB in Puerto Rico. and the 305th Original Maintenance Sq (SAC) out of Bunker Hill AFB. Again, thank you.
James F. Litchfield, e-mail, 19.04.2012 19:57
My name is James F. Litchfield. I am the son of James Edwin Litchfield (AKA Smokey or Litch). He was a crew chief on board a B36. I do not know which one. He was stationed at Ramey AFB in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s, early 1960s. He was also a crew chief on a C-47. He was sent to Vietnam in 1963, I think. He lived off base at Ramey AFB and owned a small rum bar on the beach. If anyone has information regarding James Edwin Litchfield, please feel free to email me at my address. We are trying to get information together for him in regards to the VA. Thank you in advance. James Litchfield
Terrence O'Neill, e-mail, 18.04.2012 23:32
The Strategic Air Command's top mission that justified their huge budget was to A-bomb the USSR secret atomic bomb war plants in the Ural Mountains, by flying UNESCORTED forf 1000 miles over the Arctic, then 3000 miles through 19,000 USSR interceptors guided by nine radar rings painting the huge B-36. Lost of luck. The B-35 Wing, Sealthy in 1948, faster, flew higher, and was invisible!
Mike Dowaliby, e-mail, 14.02.2012 04:42
I Inlisted in the USAF 12/26/52 and eventually was sent to SAC Base, Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA. 1953-Dec.1956. Was with the RB36, 99th Recon wing as a ECM tech. made it to S/sgt. Went to TDY Fairford England in May, 1954, to Anderson, on Guam and then Yakoda, Japan, 1955. I had great times being around the B-36, Had excitement on every flight. Never had all six running, and two, many of the times. Saw two crashes at Fairchild and some heroic landings. One of our planes lost a rudder while on a flyover the AF Academy during the opening of Colorado Springs. The AC landed in Rapid City by using his ailerons to control. Made a smooth landing and recieved the Distinguish Flying Medal. Never a dull moment. 2/13/12
DONALD KOGER, e-mail, 13.02.2012 16:23
Bill Kepner, e-mail, 12.02.2012 23:57
Did the B36 have an onboard APU? (auxiliary power unit) If so, where was it, what kind of engine, and did it supply hydraulic and generator power? thanks (R4360 mech on C124)
Bert Fletcher, e-mail, 03.01.2012 08:00
In case no one ever noticed, the Russian TU-95 and TU-142 sound EXACTLY like a B-36 when they take off and fly overhead.
Alec Stone, e-mail, 02.01.2012 15:00
RE-The Plane crash at Nut Cove nl. Canada march 1953.Our house was seperated from the crash by just a small body of water.There is one man who knows as much about that crash as anyone,as he and his cousin was the first two people along with two U.S. Military personal at the crash site,he was also involved with the task of locating bodies and the cleanup of the site.With so many stories written and told it is unfortunate that nobody took the time to interview this man.he was also the last man to leave the site before it was open to the public.That man is my father Martin Stone.He is still alive today at 95 and can recall the event as it happened yesterday.
Arthur Solomon, e-mail, 19.12.2011 19:13
I was stationed at Fairchild 1953-1955. I worked on the A-10 power units for the B36. The B36 is now on display at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson.
Jim f, e-mail, 18.12.2011 21:17
I was going through tec school at Lowery AFB, Denver as a ammunitions spcl. And heard a story of a B36 that made a emergency landing at Lowery. Because of the high altitude, the B36 couldn't take off. Matos racks were attached and as the plane made a T/O attempt, the rack broke and swiveled and the Jatos burned the tail off the plane and it crashed. Can anyone verify this story ?
Frank Anderson, e-mail, 29.11.2011 06:31
A relative was on this flight at Egland AFB. He said there was a film made of the flight. Is there a copy out there anywhere he can acquire?
roger stigney, e-mail, 12.11.2011 22:17
I would like to contact JERRY HARDESTY who made a post on 24.09.2011 regarding Biggs AFB. Please contact me via this forum or email me at email@example.com or call me at 763 786-3156. Thanks, Roger
roger stigney, e-mail, 07.11.2011 17:53
A recent posting commented on the RB-36s that he remembered while being stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico during the 1950s, some 50 plus years ago. I also would like to add a few comments as well. At that time Ramey AFB was home to the 72nd Strategic Reconnaissance/Bombardment Wing. It consisted of three recon/bomb squadrons, the 60th, 73rd, and 301st. The YB-36A mentioned was the first B-36 to have the eight wheel undercarriage and the bubble canopy above the cockpit. This was aircraft number 571 and was assigned to the 60th bomb squadron. The complete number was 42-13571. It was later upgraded to a RB-36E and subsequently featherweighted. It is my understanding that this aircraft was on display at the Wright Paterson Air Museum until 1971 when it scrapped and replaced by a B-36J model at their new air museum. I was a crew member on aircraft number 571 and would like to hear from any others that were associated with it. This forum brought back a lot of memories on this now historic aircraft.
roger stigney, e-mail, 28.10.2011 20:47
I was a Radio/ECM/Gunner with the 60th Bomb Sqdn, Ramey AFB in the mid 50s. I had a lot of adventures on this aircraft. Some more noteably ones are a rapid decompression event when a gun blister blew off, an engine that burned until it fell off the aircraft, a very heavy bomb that we had to jettison because of engine problems and tracking a UFO both visually and by radar (or perhaps it was tracking us), I'm not sure. Any other ex crew members see any UFOs?
Donald Smith, e-mail, 25.10.2011 21:44
I enlisted in 1950 twoweeks after high school graduation and following basic training, I went to A&E School at Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa. Folling that I was assigned to Sheppard AFB, where I was a tech instructor on the B-36 from 1951 till it phased out. Sent students all over to the SAC bases with B-36's.
marvin harthcock, e-mail, 18.10.2011 03:30
I was NCOIC flight line comm/nav at Ramey AFB, PuertoRico in the late 1950's. We had a Recon wing (305th) of RB36s. Among them was 4923571. It is my understanding that this bird was the original YB36 with the first eight wheel undercarriage. If an aircraft with R4360's on it flew over right now I would recognize it! These aircraft were awesome, to say the least!
Jerry, e-mail, 24.09.2011 02:12
I flew the B-36 at Biggs AFB. I remember the Ops office coming out to the aircraft after I had flown a 20 hour flight, and told me not to go to operations. Instead I was told to load my gear on another B-36 and fly four hours of transition flying at Biggs AFB and El Paso international. Had to fill all those squares!!! I fell asleep with my eyes wide open on the drive home. Drove into the back of a truck with my brand new 1955 red/white Chevy convertable. Another time, we were receiving a flight check from a standardization crew. When we took off, the left main gear didn't come all the way up so we recycled it. It went down, but did not lock so about five of us went out into the wind. There we tied a rope around the engineers waist, lowered him into the wheel well and he beat the downlock over center with a crow bar while we circled at 3000 feet over the El Paso desert. When we got it down, we called the control center and they said to fly the rest of the mission with the gear down so we flew the remaining 17 hours of the 20 hour mission with the gear hanging. Ah yes, those were the days.
Randy Dellis, e-mail, 30.05.2011 00:08
After munitions school at Lowry AFB in Denver, I was stationed at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, (my home town). As part of the 824th Supply Sqdn. the munition section furnished all the 20MM ammunition, practice bombs. and nukes for both the 7th and 11th Bomb Wings of B-36s. Our job with the ammunition was to make certain that all the brass was "in alignment" so that it would feed through the guns. With two bomb wings of B-36s, each taking 9,200 rounds of 20MM, we handled a lot of ammo. After 18 or 19 months at Carswell, I was assigned to the 3rd Aviation Depot Squadron at Andersen AFB on Guam. I arrived there in September, 1955 after a two week trip across the Pacific aboard the U.S.N.S. General D.E. Aultman (the cattle tub of the pacific). On Guam, we handled only the nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. The B-36s there were on TDY and in July, 1956, we received the first TDY B-47s. We also had to train to load nukes on them as well. I made Staff Sergeant and wanted to re-up, but got out and married instead. I must say that I enjoyed my service time and especially my time on Guam. Oh, by the way, I married in May, 1957 and as I write this, my wife and I have been married 54 years. I guess I made a good choice after all.
bombardier, e-mail, 25.05.2011 10:33
The equivalent to the Tu-95 but larger
Terry Smith, e-mail, 25.04.2011 23:42
Hi All, I was wondering where I can find info about my uncle
Calvin Johnson Grubbs He was a radio operator on one of these
massive bombers...and it was because of him I joined the Air
Force in the first place ad I worked on C141 a/b models then
F-16's A,B,C,D upto block 40 Fighters.
Thanks in advance for any information.
I heard in his stories Fairbanks, Alaska, and Biloxi, Mississippi and also Anderson, Guam where he sometimes strapped a motorcycle on a bombay door as they went to different places.... I am not sure of any other areas or bases.
Fausto DelGrosso, e-mail, 13.04.2011 17:01
To Miller Graf. I knew your crew pretty well, particularly Dave Reese. A very interesting critter to say the least. We hoisted a few now and then at The Outpost, and various other establishments. Them were truely "the days" I think I thawed out about 1997.
Dave Phemister, e-mail, 02.04.2011 22:42
When we lived in Port Angeles,WA, we couldn't wait for the B-36's to fly over, which they did every day. They would rattle everything in the house and mom would curse them for shaking things off the shelves. I coundn't wait for the fly-overs and would sit on the front porch waiting for it to happen. I will never forget those fun times or the sound they made.
Ray Sanderford, e-mail, 28.03.2011 18:40
I notice a couple of guys are interested in the "broken arrow" crash of a B-36 in Canada, the flight originating in Faibanks AK Feb. 13, 1950. There's a story of this incident in the Dec. 2000 issue of "Flight Journal" magazine.
Ken Hoppens, e-mail, 19.03.2011 19:01
This is to Robert Jones who left a comment in 08. He was the crew chief of one of the B-36 coming home from the Azoures on March 18, 1953. I hope I will be able to contact you. I was only 8 days old when the B-36 crashed in NL. My father was on that flight. I'm hoping on visiting the site within next few years. I have been in contact with General Ellsworth son who has a summer home near the site.
Miller Graf, e-mail, 13.03.2011 19:43
Was stationed at Loring AFB 1953-56 as APE on crew S-10 Maj Clem Maloney as A/C, Jim Spearman as CP, Jake Demond as Nav, Pete Kolmenick as RBN, Dave Reese as 3rd Nav inter alia. Went on to B-52 at Westover. The B-36 was the greatest!
gorton j thomas, e-mail, 12.03.2011 15:49
dear old B36s. i was at hunter a.f.b in GA.. when a B 36 landed with two engines feathered. thats when i made up my mine i wanted to work on them. after leaving Sheppard a.f.b. i went to Biggs a.f.b TX. where i crewed b36s for 6 years. i can rember the lost feeling when the last one was sent to ft worth on it final flt. i then went to NC.. on b52s.
James F Miller, e-mail, 12.03.2011 01:30
I was called back Aug 7 1950 got assigned to Rapid City, I had a bombsight and auto pilot MOS 514 they sent me to school for the new auto pilot on the B36. If the auto pilot did not work there was all hell to pay. The cockpit was bigger than our den. We had one bomb bay converted to photo recon. We had coal fired hot water heaters not very good, Gen. Lamay was on base and asked what we wanted. Plumbers were out the next week. I still remember using the carrier front to back. I was 22 going to transfer to Florida State where it was warm, but never happened, they sent me to Endland, doing nothing at Warrington AFB except dancing with the local girls at the NCO club.
Claude Thomas, e-mail, 11.03.2011 06:45
Reading the above comments sure brings back memories of 1954-1955 while stationed at Ellsworth. There is nothing in this world like the sound of 6 4360 engines.. Whow what a winter up there and here I had my choice to either Limestone or Ellsworth...This old Florida boy chose wrong
Bob Harding, e-mail, 24.02.2011 19:10
I was in Amarillo, Texas in 1957 going thru tech school on the F86-D and F100 on Armed Forces Day and was downtown Amarillo before the Air Show at the base that afternoon. I was inside a store when there was a terrible noise and the building started shaking. I went outside on Polk Street and there was a B-36-D coming down the street (in the air of course) just above the buildings doing a fly-by before landing for the show. I've always been in awe of the B-36 because of the six 4360 engines and the four jets. The sound was unmistakable. Congrats to all of you who that worked on or flew them.
STEVE COYCAULT, SR., e-mail, 17.02.2011 14:16
I WAS AN AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER ON AN RB36 STATIONED AT FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE IN SPOKANE, WASHINGTON FROM 1954-1956. COL. CLYDE PERRY WAS OUR AIRCRAFT COMMANDER. WE WERE THE LEAD COMBAT CREW OF THE 348TH SQUADRON, 99TH BOMB WING. WE FLEW TRAINING MISSIONS EVERY WEEK FOR 20 HOURS OR MORE. OUR TARGETS WERE IN RUSSIA SHOULD THE GO SIGNAL BE ADOPTED. MY LEAD AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHER WAS TECH. SGT.DEAN WILLOCK, DECEASED. HE WAS ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS. WE KEPT IN TOUCH FOR OVER 52 YEARS. I AM PRESENTLY 77 AND HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF OUR 21 MAN CREW. IF ANY OF YOU ARE STILL ALIVE PLEASE CONTACT ME.
M. D. Weltha, e-mail, 03.02.2011 19:07
This comes from a B-36 Radio/ECM operator and gunner, with 1,400 hours on the B-36 Peacemaker, out of Carswell AFB, Ft. Worth, TX etc, from 1952 to 1956. The following reports the B-36’s role in ending the Korean War, fighter interceptions when penetrating the DEW line at high altitude, at night—and B-36 safety and reliability.
B-36, ENDING THE KOREAN WAR
It is my understanding President Eisenhower used the power of the B-36 to end the Korean War. Ike told the Russians to end the war within 30 days, or he was not ordering the B-36s to turn around and not nuclear bomb Russia. 20 days passed with no response from the Russians. Ike sent a final message saying only 10 days remained. The Russians then told the N. Koreans to stop the war, which they did.
Several B-36 select flight crews no doubt remember being called back from such missions—aimed at Russia from nearly all directions. I was a 19 year old at the time and vividly remember receiving and decoding such messages—which were then further decoded by the Aircraft Commander, before turning back. I was assigned to the crew just after it had dropped the first H bomb from a B-36. Each crew had two radio/ECM operators. I was the junior operator at that time--holding the B-36 in awe!
That drop changed the procedure for dropping H bombs from a B-36. The original procedure was to drop the bomb and dive to gain speed and out run the shock wave. Unfortunately, the shock wave came within a half mile of the plane, which was much too close. The procedure was changed to making a 60 degree bank, called a shotgun bank, to turn away from the shock wave. Such a bank was a memorable experience, if not terrifying. The plane shook and bucked but always made it through the turn. Each plane could only make a very small number of such turns, due to stress limitations.
B-36, FIGHTER INTERCEPTIONS AT THE DEW LINE
While penetrating the Defense Early Warning (DEW) line coming south from Canada at night, U. S. fighters would ‘intercept’ us and then fly up very close behind our engines, to what I thought was much too close for comfort—and besides they were armed with their guns & rockets pointed at us—while all 16 of our 20 mm canons had to be in the stowed position--harmless. So I flashed the fighters with a powerful lamp to deter them, which it did. But the next thing I heard on the intercom was the pilots asking what the hell was that? Years later, I met and visited with a pilot of one of those fighters. He nearly punched me when I told him what I had done—and why. He said that for them to get credit for an intercept, which was important to them, they had to record the “itty bitty” tail number on the B-36. To do so, they had to fly up close, fighting the contrails and severe B-36 turbulence, to read the number. The flashing evidently prevented them from doing so—which angered them.
To retaliate, they backed off and then came roaring up from behind and underneath--and climbed directly in front of the nose of the B-36--and hit the after burners on their F-94. This appeared as sudden explosions and startled our pilots, of course—who did not know what I had done. The gunners often did the same thing—sometimes just to see what was out there. The powerful lamps were routinely used to scan the engines and turrets etc. during night flights.
B-36, SAFETY AND RELIABILITY
Despite engine power losses, terrible thunder storms, run-away props, dust storms, atomic radiation, fighters, fires and shortage of fuel etc., we always landed safely, someplace (such as at Lambert Airport in St. Louis)—in the very large and safe—B-36 Peacemaker!
While staying overnight waiting for fuel at Lambert, I drew the short straw and had to stay up all night guarding the airplane. Along with listening to the friendly cackle of the airline pilots about a B-36 being there, I stood within about 200 feet of the runway, where the new McDonald, twin-engine, F-101 VooDoo took off. I thought it had blown up on take-off, but it kept going. I then realized the pilot had ignited the after burners, about 250 feet from me. Will never forget that experience—or when ferrying an H-Bomb and landing short and sliding off the slippery runway at Loring AFB in Maine. But that’s another story, to be told later, if at all.
Bill Campbell, M.D., e-mail, 01.02.2011 19:36
In the '40s and '50s I lived north of Topeka, Kansas on an alfalfa-dairy farm and have fond memories of the aircraft passing over-head out of Forbes Airforce Base. Everyday in the late '40s, four or five B-29s would pass over-head, and I would rush outside and lay in the lawn and look up at the beautiful aircraft. One day in the early '50s, Mom ran out of the house letting me know something different was coming. All the windows and glassware in the house was rattling, and we could hear a drone that no other plane could match. Suddenly from the south came this most beautiful silver bird directly over our home and at much lower altitude than the B-29s. What a sight! Later, I learned this was a B-36. This memory I will cherish forever and never forget! Later in Scouting, our troop toured Forbes AFB, and we were allowed to walk through a B-36. There is one in Omaha, Nebraska, at the SAC Museum, which I saw recently. That trip brought back wonderful memories. This plane should make us all so very proud of the USAF and our country! Bill Campbell,M.D.
Fausto, e-mail, 31.01.2011 19:21
As a young 2nd Lt. fresh out of flight school at mather AFB. Ca. in 1953 I was assigned to the 75th Bomb Wing Limestone AFB, Maine. Later renamed Loring AFB. Had to wait a period of time before Top Secret Clearance was completed. By then needed two months flight time. was put on crew, and took off on a Thursday night about 23:00. Landed 29hrs 50 mins later so for one day of my life I wasn't any closer than 25,000 feet from the ground. Not too sure just what I had gotten myself into at that point. Our lead Crew would fly a 25 hour mission once a week for about 18 months. Have close to 3000 hours in " The Aluminum Overcast" Would really love to take one more flight just for old times sake. And those were the good old days??? God Bless all you old 36ers.
loomas j marshall, e-mail, 29.01.2011 09:57
I started my career on the Big Bird at Walker AFB 39th Engineering section on 52-2819 with TSGT Billy Graves. The 36 was my first airplane ride ever, having been raised on the Plains of Texas near Amarillo.(Borger)Worked on the A/C for 5 years with 1 year at Travis AFB on the RB's. Retired in 1979 as a flt eng on C-141s at Norton AFB Ca.
J D Ziegler, e-mail, 25.01.2011 02:02
Crew S-22 from Carswell AFB, TX flew the last B-36 for the annual air show at Egland AFB Fla. We dropped 128 bombs from an altitude of about 2k' (was susposed to load 132 max, but in those days the crew did that work themselves & we got tired) We tied an AF news photographer on the IFI platform and he took movies of the boomb drop in trail...wish I had a copy of that. What a great crew and what a great acft. A part of the James Stewart movie "SAC" was filmed out side our sqdn hanger (492nd Bomb Sqdn, Ft. Worth TX.
Tom Drodge, e-mail, 24.01.2011 03:57
I am trying to find an email for Robert E. Jones. The email given doesn.t work. I am interested in obtaining some information on the B-36s that flew over the Atlantic Ocean from the Azores the night of Mar. 18th, 1953. Anyone with any information would be greatly appreciated.
Brad Hoke, e-mail, 22.01.2011 19:24
My '53-55 assignment was as Adjutant of the 766th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron, Limestone, ME. We were ADC, of course, but being contiguous to then-Limestone AFB we drew supplies, medical, and administrative services there. Our BOQ was seven miles from their flight line, and the tails sticking up over the scruffy tree line in between were all we could see of the B-36s. But hearing those big birds during takeoff, with all six pushers at full throttle and the JATO going, was absolutely no problem. The first jets' arrival, while exciting, was the beginning of the end of a very special and unforgettable era, not unlike the passing of steam locomotives.
Fred Daugherty, e-mail, 20.01.2011 17:04
the first time I saw a B-36 was at El Centro NAF at air show.I might have been 12..I had my hands all over it and then it took off..As it flew over I thought ..My hand prints are on the beautiful aircraft. memories..wow!
lesly chenery, e-mail, 17.01.2011 13:36
B36 s of sac used to land and take off from mildenhall air base they used to rattle windows as they came over they often came over our school yard 1954
Jerry Pattison, e-mail, 18.12.2010 21:51
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, e-mail, 15.12.2010 18:14
Would like to know if any flight engineers manuals are available for this A/C??
Bert Fletcher, e-mail, 11.12.2010 12:51
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, e-mail, 05.12.2010 17:52
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, e-mail, 02.12.2010 22:42
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, e-mail, 28.11.2010 16:23
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, e-mail, 24.11.2010 19:08
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, e-mail, 22.11.2010 03:31
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, e-mail, 15.11.2010 05:58
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?
Jon, e-mail, 07.11.2010 22:38
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, e-mail, 07.11.2010 17:58
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, e-mail, 31.10.2010 03:17
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
Donald, e-mail, 23.10.2010 19:43
Bert Rima: I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB from 1951 to 1954. You mentioned 28th Recky Tech reunionss. Do you have any info. on them?
Donald, e-mail, 23.10.2010 19:39
LEONARD HILLIARY, e-mail, 20.10.2010 04:32
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, e-mail, 16.10.2010 05:04
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, e-mail, 11.10.2010 08:01
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., e-mail, 08.10.2010 23:35
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, e-mail, 04.10.2010 05:40
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, e-mail, 25.09.2010 18:12
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.
His story: 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.
James Peters, e-mail, 22.09.2010 15:04
In 1951, the 92nd BW at Fairchild,AFB, Spokane Wash, received their first B-36, and I worked as an electrician in the 92nd BW OMS, (PMS), and in 1953, transferred to the 99th SRW,on the RB and GRB-36 (FICON) on to 1957, when the 99th SRW (BW) sent their aircraft to Tucson,AZ, for salvage. I am the only person, who so far, who has claimed to have worked on three versions, Bomber,Recon and Ficon.
Mert Rima, e-mail, 21.09.2010 18:20
In 1949 I was assigned to the 718th Strat Recon Sqdn of the 28th bomb wing at Rapid City AFB, which later became Ellsworth AFB. I remained in the 718th for over 6 years. I was witness to the transition from the B-29 to the RB-36. It was a real learning experience and was very rewarding in the knowledge obtained from working on and maintaining this huge aircraft. It did require many man hours of maintenance per hour of flying time. But it was all worth it during the Cold War. The capability this aicraft had was an influence on the conduct of rouge nations at the time. It's name was PEACEMAKER and it never fired a shot in anger. As a Crew Chief I flew many hours in the 36 and accompanied my aircraft on any flight the aircraft commander asked me to, or in most cases I would just ask if it was OK if I went. I accompanied my aircraft to England several times, Guam, Alaska several times, Greenland and Japan. The crew members and maintenance folks I associated with over the years became everlasting friends that one could never forget. When attending reunions of the 28th it has become a depressing odeal as so many of those wonderful friends have passed on. The B-36 remains the center piece of the reunions in the pictures and stories.
Steve Ras, e-mail, 10.09.2010 21:32
I remember the B36 display at Chanute AFB in 1964..I believe about 20 feet was removed from the fuselage ..
Richard McClanahan, e-mail, 07.09.2010 20:56
I was stationed at Travis AFB in Fairfield Ca. from 1957 to 1961. When I arrived there the B-36 was being replaced by B-52's. I remember at night pulling your beds away from the windows. Sometimes the windows would shatter during take off.They were a wongerful machine. Richard McClanahan [ discharger in 1961 ]
Jerry D. Watson, e-mail, 03.09.2010 17:48
My Dad, C.J. Watson, was a crew member at Carswell until he went to B-52 school in 58. Retired as a Chief in 64, Altus AFB, and always spoke with great affection for the Peacemaker. I was born to sound of 36 engines in 52 and also had a career in the Air Force, Munitions, for 20 years.
Bert Fletcher, e-mail, 27.08.2010 02:08
The tunnel in the B-36 was 80 feet long.
John Lutz, e-mail, 21.08.2010 08:42
"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? Regards"
That's correct. It was a pressurized tunnel, approximately 4' in diameter, that ran from the forward bulkhead of the rear gunners compartment, along the upper Bombay compartment and opened at the rear bulkhead of the radio operators compartment. I don't recall the actual length, but I would estimate 150 feet(half a foot ball field).
In the tunnel was a flat sled on a monorail, as I recall. At the top of the tunnel(inside) was a rope for the person traversing the tunnel to pull himself through. The person (normally a gunner or an in- flight maintenance person, as I was) , would lay down on the sled, on their back . All crew members had parachutes in the event of an emergency. But, in order to traverse the tunnel, we actually had to take off our parachute and put it on our chest in order to have sufficient room between the top of the tunnel, where the rope was, to facilitate room to maneuver our arms to pull our self through.
Ivan Skillian, e-mail, 20.08.2010 23:40
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? Regards Ivan Skillian
eddie dutson, e-mail, 29.07.2010 23:30
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, e-mail, 20.07.2010 07:17
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, e-mail, 13.07.2010 23:35
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 , e-mail, 07.07.2010 07:34
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, e-mail, 27.06.2010 03:07
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 04:41
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, e-mail, 03.06.2010 23:54
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, e-mail, 03.06.2010 00:14
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, e-mail, 26.05.2010 23:14
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, e-mail, 17.04.2010 15:42
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. Regards, Herk Snyder, Col. USAF ret.
Tom Drodge, e-mail, 29.03.2010 03:52
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, e-mail, 22.03.2010 23:01
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 it.it 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, e-mail, 22.03.2010 17:13
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, e-mail, 05.02.2010 04:01
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, e-mail, 24.01.2010 19:51
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, e-mail, 18.01.2010 18:51
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, e-mail, 15.01.2010 03:13
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, e-mail, 05.01.2010 05:45
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, e-mail, 09.11.2009 01:24
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.
roly hampden, e-mail, 23.10.2009 19:05
Who is this turd (below)
jameskieta, e-mail, 27.08.2009 13:04
First of all I will like to thank you for given your attention to read my mail and for your interest,I pray that my plan with you shall be of good success. Well, I will go ahead to explain little about myself, I am Master.James kieta,from Morovia Liberia in West Africa. There is crisis in my country so I ran to Abidjan popularly none as Cote D'lvoire where I am contacting you today. I am 19yrs old and was in school when my Father and my Mother with my only sister were born down with fire under the leadership of former president Charles Tailor, when he refused to step down for another govemenmt.I was the only surviving child left now.
My father Dr James Soroma was a diamond dealer and was one of those people who was revolting against the leadership of Mr Charles Tailor. One day he sent his boys to set our house on fire killing my parents and my younger sister . I was so lucky to be in school,when the set our house on fire.it was how I survived. I have meant our family lawyer and I have find out that my Late father deposited so much fund for my brighter future, he left in my possession for my future plan and of his direction in his will .The reason why I am contacting you is to know if I can really obtain a favour from you to go into a good plan of investment in your own country. I have no idea of investment that is the main reason why I ask for your attention for your advise and to stand behind me to invest my inheritance in your country. My father left Nine million Five Hundred Thousand USD Dollars (US$9.5m ) for me in a bank.
If you wish to be of this assistance to me, pls do tell me more about yourself for me to also know you better and also your words of advise for the procedure of this transaction. I have made up my mind concern the area of rewarding you 15 percent of the total fund as soon as the fund is been transferred to your position. please, contact with this email address ( Kieta_J@yahoo.com) Thanks
And Be Bless Best regards. James Kieta.
ALAN J. LEVI, e-mail, 04.08.2009 06:46
IN 1956 AND 1957 I WAS STATIONED AT WHEELUS AFB, TRIPOLI LYBIA, WE HAD THE PLEASURE OF WATCHING THE B-36 TAKE OFF AND LAND. THE REAL SIGHT WAS WHILE PLAYING GOLF, WE WATCHED THE 36 LAND. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT TO SEE THAT BEAUTIFUL MONSTER LOW ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO COUNT THE RIVITS. JUST TO SEE IT GAVE YOU CHILLS AND NO WONDER IT WAS CALLED THE "PEACE MAKER".
Richard T. Nicolls, e-mail, 05.07.2009 03:19
USAF, 1959-1954. Initially assigned to Basic Electronics School, Lowry AFB followed by APG-32 Tail Gunners School and upon completion was assigned to the 42nd Bomb Squadron at Carswell AFB performing maintenance on the radar directed B-36 tail gun. Next sent to initial ’71 level Armament Systems School at Lowry AFB. Returned to Carswell AFB and was placed in charge of all 100 hour inspections of the B-36 armament System. Saw the transition from mechanical computer gun laying system to the electro-mechanical system. Transferred to flying status as one of the B-36’s turret gunners (right lower waist). Was assigned member of a Select Crew and experienced many 25 hour minimum training flights over the southern U.S. sometimes with nuclear weapon aboard (simulated or real, I never knew). As a Select Crew, I was able to attain the rank of T/Sgt. There were memorable TDY flights to Puerto Rico and Morocco where we stayed for one week. Completed my enlistment as tail gunner on a light-weighted B-36, but never flew at the extreme altitudes, >63,000 feet, that it was capable of. Very dependable aircraft in my experience. In my 356 hours of B-36 flight only experienced loss of an engine on one flight, prop went into reverse while in final approach on one occasion and our Master Gunner had to go out in the wing and crank down the landing gear on one occasion.
Richard T. Nicolls, M.D.
John Wagar, e-mail, 07.05.2009 06:29
I had the extreme pleasure of working on "730" (Which is now "static" at the old Castle AFB in CA)as an aircraft electrician when it was active at Ellsworth AFB in SD 1953,1954 and 1955. can be viewed www.air-and-space.com/castlb36htm. Like a big dummy, I never took the opportunity to fly in one of these giants. The 36 was one of my favorites to be worked on during my 22 years in the USAF. I do have to say that it was the dirtiest one to work on in the engine conpartment. Those 28 cylinder recips really blew a lot of oily sooty crap all over the inside of the engine area. Working in the j-47 area gave me the idea of how nice and clean it could be working on jets. After leaving Ellsworth in 1955, I continued my Air Force career mainly working on jet aircraft of which my favorite "bird" was the A-10 warthog. John Wagar, Msgt, retired
James Mancuso, e-mail, 21.04.2009 13:47
It would be nice if one of the existing B36's could be restored to flying status. It would look fantastic doing the airshow circuit along with the B29 "Fifi". Why the Air Force would not allow it is beyond me. As a flying aircraft, it would be a most fitting tribute to all the men who flew and worked on her during her relatively short service career.
Neil Randle, e-mail, 20.03.2009 21:53
After Flight Engineer training at Mather in B-50's was in the 99th at Fairchild as Second Engineer which was an Officer rated job. Attached to several Select Crews. Made one memorable trip to Guam - took 33.5 hours to get there and 29.5 hours on the return. Mt Rainier never looked so good. Another memory was when as second engineer I had to go out into the starboard wing one night because the landing gear and the 'Canoe door' wanted to come up at the same time. I had to manually crank the gear down and recycle it. A fun experience. The true max gross weight was 410,000 and the 4360's were rated at 3800 hp 'wet'. A person could stand up inside the wing at the third engine out.
Joseph McKean, e-mail, 24.01.2009 03:45
I flew in B-52's but wish I had at least one flight in the B-36. I have always been intriqued with reports mechanics could go out in the wing to make repairs. I have never seen any pictures of how they worked their way out the wing. Are there any such pictures. Thanks
clair w. emel, e-mail, 04.01.2009 18:28
Does anyone know where I can see a B 36 on the east coast ?
Gus Anthony, e-mail, 27.11.2008 20:40
For those interested in the Flight Manuals for the Convair B-36. My son researched and found this CD which is the complete Flight Manuals in great detail.
This CD is available at: www.flight-manuals-on-cd.com Ltd P.O. Box 38-847 Wellington, New Zealand
I was ann Aircraft performance engineer on B-36s from 1951-1954. Stationed at Fairchild AFB, Fairfield, CA, Biggs at El Paso, TX. Would like to know what happened to Col Pete Sianis, Col. Estes, Lt. Bob Swanson, Frank Cavanaugh. Any leads would be appreciated. I would also like to know that any B-36 restored and on display would allow one to climb aboard and reminice. Gus
Bob Miller, e-mail, 22.11.2008 22:56
I was in the USAF 1952-56 thru Lowry B-29 gunnery thence to Carswell AFB tng. for B-36 as tail gunner. Eventually formed with other transfers as a member of a combat-ready crew and shipped to Limestone (Loring AFB ME.) We began flying in B36-Ds "profile missions" mostly around artic regions,and in "show" missions to UpperHeyford England, Preswick Scotland etc. Later (1955-6)we got into "featherweight" H and J models which discarded 14 of the 16 20mm cannons and turrets, (leaving just the radar-controlled tail guns.) These last models were virtually "hot-rods" of the breed and we marvelled at some of the steep angles of attack some pilots achieved in takeoffs...perhaps beyond regulations. All aft-compartment gunners were also "scanners"...an extremely boring job of watching engines, intercooler settings, gear movements locking down lock, canoe-door closing,and any hints of oil leaks, smoke, flame, etc. (We lost at least one engine in flight about 25% of the time) We also were tasked with spotting AD Command fighters who "attacked" us on a fairly regular basis..We used gun cameras in return..learning later how many times we were shot down by F-89s, F-86s, even by Glouster Meteors over Canada. As "gunners" we shared multiple tasks, mostly related to emergency procedures and practices thereof. Aside from loading and arming all the 16 guns under the direction of our "senior gunner", scanner duties, and operating the tail radar armament system...we also could crawl into the wing (at low altitude) and crank down the gear (I never did this, thank God)..we could go to a panel and run a back-up for lowering flaps, and we could also do emergency retraction of the lower and upper turrets (which folded into the fuselage) There were six bunks in the aft compartment of all the models I rode..also an electric stove with 4 burners where we presumably could cook ham and eggs...but we seldom, if ever did that, even on long missions of more than 30 hours. (Inflight "Box lunches" were not all bad, except for the ubiquitous "Purple Plums in Syrup, and the vitamin fortified chocolate bar..) Advancement for combat-ready crews was more rapid than in the rest of the Air Force, (we were told) our AC,Pilots,and Radar/Nav/Bombradiers all gained heavier metal within the first eighteen months after passable flight safety records and a good bombing scores. Enlisted crewmembers would usually make an NCO (E-4+)grade within or shortly after 4 years. As a crew after "combat ready" we became a "select crew" then an "instructor crew" which placed us into other people's aircraft, drilling them remorselessly on SOP. I'm now 75 years old...I think I was told that for a time, in 1954-55, I was the youngest tail gunner in SAC. Those were memorable days.
John Hampton, e-mail, 20.11.2008 04:00
I was assigned to the 717th Strat Recon Sq. at Rapid City AFB as an aerial photographer (1953-54). SAC and the B-36 were our nation's main deterent to Russian/Chinese expansion and war threat. In August '54 we attained an altitude of 57,000 feet in a featherweight RB-36E. It was a marvelous aircraft and maintained by excellent ground crews.
Buck Grim, e-mail, 01.11.2008 23:08
I was a jet mechanic in early 50's and later a licensed A&P mechanic with commercial airlines. I have always been facinated with the B-36 and would like to know if mainteance or flight manuals are available??
Walt Mitchell, e-mail, 29.10.2008 00:22
Re the Jimmy Stewart movie: It was "Strategic Air Command", in color, starring J. Stewart and June Allison. It came out in 1955 while the B-36 was still our primary strategic bomber. All are invited to join B-36 vets on a Delphi Web site called "B-36 Era and Cold War Aviation Forum". You can find answers to most questions you can thing of about the B-36. Walt Mitchell
Don Shively, e-mail, 28.10.2008 22:15
Wasn't there a B&W Jimmy Stewart movie about the B-36? What was that title? I seem to recall it crashed in the snow. It had great shots of the plane, it's insides and all that went with it. I think it was the largest plane we ever made.
Scotty Burns, e-mail, 28.10.2008 08:31
Here at Castle Air Museum (Castle Air Force Base Merced) We have the RB-36 that was at Chanute AFB ILL. Our restoration Crew went to Chanute and dismantled the aircraft and had it shipped to Merced and then reassembled it. Truly a monumental piece of work, the aircraft looks great http://www.elite.net/castle-air/ondisplay.html or you can see the pictures of the assembly at http://www.air-and-space.com/castlb36.htm For our last open cockpit day they cranked one of the forward upper gun turrets up. you can also get up into the cockpit. You can check out the stats for all Aircraft at the museum (around 49 and counting)
Joe Kennedy, e-mail, 28.10.2008 02:48
I flew the RB-36 as a Lower Aft Gunner,Ramey AFB,P.R.,1953-1955.Loved the Airplane & the deployments to French Morroco,North Africa.Crew transferred to Fairchild AFB,Wn Nov.'55. The B-36 had the MOST DISTINCT SOUND with those 6 4360's.
lee swann, e-mail, 27.10.2008 13:17
Reply to Bob Miller. Can't tell you about B-36, but GSW was NOT incotporated into DFW. GSW is the site of several office buildings designated as "CP #1" through 'CP # 5" CP being the designator for "Center Port". The old B=36 pad was on yhe extreme West side of GSW facing the service road of State Highway 360.
Stan Allen, e-mail, 27.10.2008 05:47
For the B36H & B36J models I believe that the max gross weight at t/o was over 400,000 lbs. The 357,508 lbs. would be applicable to earlier models. Cheers, Stan
Stan Allen, e-mail, 27.10.2008 05:19
The narration describing the B36 says it had a pressurized fuselage; that's not quite accurate as the B36 had two pressurized compartments, one forward and one aft of the bomb-bays. The RB36 had three pressurized compartments a fore and aft and another photo compartment aft of the forward crew compartment, in place of #1 bomb-bay. Therefore, the B36s had four bomb-bays and the RB36s had three bomb-bays. Cheers, Stan
Walt Mitchell, e-mail, 22.10.2008 06:19
The B-36 formerly on display in Ft Worth is currently in Tuscon, AZ at the Pima museum being refurbished and assembled for permanent display.
Walt Mitchell, e-mail, 22.10.2008 06:13
I was a tail gunner on RB-36s. Fairchild (99th)in '54, Ramey (72nd) '55/56, Ellsworth (28th)'56. Gunner's primary jobs were gunners only. Exceptions were the forward positions which were manned by the 2nd radio operator, third pilot (extra gunner if no third pilot assigned to crew) and an officer in the nose (sometimes an enlisted weather trained gunner). One gunner was trained in mechanics and then electrical systems before going to gunnery school. Other gunners were trained as turret or gunlaying (Radar) systems technicians before gunnery school. We normally did not work on any equipment other than install the cannons, load ammo and preflight systems prior to gunnery missions.
marvin (GILL) Gilliam, e-mail, 30.08.2008 20:57
99th field maint sq. Fairchild AFB Washington. 1952/1955. A&P school Sheppard aircraft elect DC&AC.After 10 years Air Force,enlisted US ARMY.Helicopters/CV2 Caribou Vung Tau Vietnam.US Army Civil service Fort Eustis VA. Navy air Resv. Flight Enginer VR 56 NAS NORFOLK. The B-36 was my introductionin into aviation and as a kid had no idea that this B-36 experience would set the aviation standards for the me the rest of my life. The first time I looked at the flight engineers panel in the 36 was my introduction to the real world. FIRST THOUGHT! I'll never learn all this "CRAP"!!!!!This was right up there with that stray round that came up through the floor between my feet in NAM.61st aviation ving tau 1962/63.
Bob Miller, e-mail, 21.08.2008 22:20
Does anyone know what happened to the static display B-36 that was found at Greater Southwest Int'l Airport (before it was expanded and rebuilt as DFW)?
Robert E. Jones, e-mail, 30.07.2008 06:18
I was a crew chief on a RB-36 D model. I was in the 717th bomb recon squardon in the 24th bomb wing of SAC stationed at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City SD. I was in a flight of RB-36s that flew out of the Azores island accross the Atlantic at one thousand feet above the cold wet north Alnatic on a penetration mission back into the USA to test the air defince command. That is when General Ellsworth, in a 36 several planes ahead of us, crashed into the shore line cliffs in New Foundland.. Rapid City AFB was then renamed Ellsworth AFB. This was a great plane that keep the Russians at bay hence the name Peace Maker - that never dropped a bomb in anger.
Phil Turner, e-mail, 14.07.2008 05:34
As a kid growing up in Denver, Colorado in the mid 1950's, I remember that the USAF brought one of these to town. Lowry AFB did not have a runway long enough to accomodate the beast, thus it landed at Stapleton Field, the Commercial Airport, Thanks to warm weather and the overall weight of the plane, it literally sank into the Asphalt parking apron and had to be moved out with a pair of very large BullDozers. The last time one landed there! My recollection is that this airplane had the most distinct "sound" of anything flying and you could identify them before you could see them. Also left some interesting con-trails with 6 engines, plus 4 Jets.
stephen russell, e-mail, 15.06.2008 04:16
Seen this in the movie Stragetic Air Command with Jimmy Stewart & John Wayne in Jet Pilot. Big beast of a plane. Unique 2 bad Non fly in Retro mode like some B17s do, Must get one 2 fly to honor Cold War era & USAF crews.
E. Ruggles, e-mail, 21.05.2008 15:05
I went through Aircraft Electrical Repairmen School at Sheppard AFB , Wichita Falls, TX and was told that I would attend Gunnery School after to train as a gunner on the B-36 But after school was shipped to Westover AFB ,Mass and serviced B-52's so I never got to see the Inside of a B-36 or attend gunnery school. Thanks E. Ruggles
Ed Smart, e-mail, 11.05.2008 19:33
The GRB-36J (FICON) carried one RF-84F "parasite" reconnaissance aircraft in the bombay which could be launched and retrieved in flight. The 10,000 range of the B-36 combined with the 2,000 mile range of the RF-84F permitted lengthy reconnaissance missions.
Ken Cochran, e-mail, 08.05.2008 04:20
One day in my home town of Griffin, GA, c1958, while walking home from school,I saw a B-36 flying a few hundred feet off the ground right down the center of our main street, heading east. I could clearly see the pilots. A friend from Arizona says he remembers about the same time seeing B-36's low level across the area around Prescott, AZ. I guess it was some training thing. When I was in Nam, flying Hueys, I bought thru the PX a B-36 balsa kit made in Japan. It has a 10 ft wingspan. I still have the un-built kit in the original box. One of these days I'll build it, when I retire..................
S/SGT Charles Chapin, e-mail, 21.04.2008 17:47
I was a crew chief on a Rb-36F, was a lot of work to get it off and keep it flying, we carried a 21 ton h-bomb, our service cealing 52000 feet where we were at most of the time, I was very lucky to have 6 very good men working under me, we would fly for 48hrs missions a very long time to say the least, I was in the 99th bomb wing, 346th sqd. at Fairchild afb.
Carl D. Kaartunen, e-mail, 09.09.2007 05:13
It is a beautiful aircraft of the USAF. 6 Turn...4Burn. I was able to checkout both exterior&Interior of this beautiful aircraft,which i have wonder thoughts of,while i was in the USAF a A&P Student @ Chanute AFB ILL.
Dennis OConnor, e-mail, 01.09.2007 01:26
Gerald, I was a tail gunner on B-36's. No we couldn't service engines in flight. If we were low enough, we could go out into the wing thru a crawl space in the bombay, and lower the Landing Gear manually. Yes the B-36 Was larger than the B-52 I also flew as tailgunner on B-52's. The B-36 was more fun !
Sgt.KAR98, 21.08.2007 03:17
Was that plane bigger than the B-52 or B-29?
gerald roberts, e-mail, 09.08.2007 02:54
after "airplane and engine school" at sheppard afb in 1951, i went to "dc" then "ac" electric repairman courses at channute afb. i was told that this was the preliminary to becoming a gunner on the b-36. however , i ended up sewart afb ( c-119's) then to korea ( b-26's).
my memory tells me that the gunners on the b-36 crews had other jobs (hence me being an aircraft electrician). i remember that i was told that on the b-36 in flight, that a crewmmber could reach and service an engine if needed. is there a book that can be recommended that woexplain the duties in detail re their responsibilities.
thanks gerald roberts (s/sgt discharged in 1955)
If you want to send an email just replace '(@)' in the address with '@' !