Convair Aircraft

The Convair B-58 "Hustler"
is a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force.

Convair B-58 Hustler

Design and development

The USAF chose Boeing (MX-1712) and Convair to proceed to a Phase 1 study. The Convair MX-1626 evolved into a more refined proposal redesignated the MX-1964. In December 1952, the Air Force selected the MX-1964 as the winner of the design competition to meet the newly proposed SAB-51 (Supersonic Aircraft Bomber) and SAR-51 (Supersonic Aircraft Reconnaissance), the first General Operational Requirement (GOR) worldwide for supersonic bombers. In February 1953, the Air Force issued a contract for development of Convair's design.

 

The resulting B-58 design was the first "true" USAF supersonic bomber program. The Convair design was based on a delta wing with a leading-edge sweep of 60° with four General Electric J79-GE-1 turbojet engines, capable of flying at Mach 2. Although its large wing made for relatively low wing loading, it proved to be surprisingly well suited for low-altitude, high-speed flight. It seated three (pilot, bombardier/navigator, and defensive systems operator) in separated tandem cockpits. Later versions gave each crew member a novel ejection capsule that made it possible to eject at an altitude of 70,000 ft (21,000 m) at speeds up to Mach 2 (1,320 mph/2,450 km/h). Unlike standard ejection seats of the period, a protective clamshell would enclose the seat and the control stick with an attached oxygen cylinder, allowing the pilot to continue to fly even "turtled up" and ready for immediate egress. The capsule was buoyant; the crewmember could open the clamshell, and use it as a life raft.In an unusual test program, live bears and chimpanzees were successfully used to test the ejection system. The XB-70 would use a similar system (though using capsules of a different design).

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The B-58 set 19 world speed records, including coast-to-coast records, and the longest supersonic flight in history. In 1963, it flew from Tokyo to London (via Alaska), a distance of 8,028 miles (12,920 km) in 8 hours, 35 minutes, 20.4 seconds, averaging 938 miles per hour (1,510 kilometres per hour). As of 2016, this record still stands. The aircraft was serving in an operational unit, and had not been modified in any way besides being washed and waxed. One of the goals of the flight was to push the limit of its new honeycomb construction technique. The speed of the flight was limited only by the speed at which they believed the honeycomb panels would delaminate, although one of the afterburners malfunctioned and the last hour of the flight was continued at subsonic speed.

Convair Aircraft
Convair B-58 Hustler

he genesis of the B-58 program came in February 1949, when a Generalized Bomber Study (GEBO II) had been issued by the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, for the development of a supersonic, long range, bombardment aviation platform. The proposed bomber's design and development was to begin less than two years after sustained supersonic flight had successfully been achieved.

Convair B-58 Hustler: Specifications

  • History

    Role Supersonic Strategic bomber

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Convair

    First flight 11 November 1956

    Introduction 15 March 1960

    Retired 31 January 1970

  • General info

    Primary user United States Air Force

    Status Retired

    Number built 116

    Unit cost

    US$12.44 million

    Variants Convair Model 58-9

  • Performance

    Specifications click here

     

     

Convair B-58 Hustler

Aircrafttotaal

Replacing the Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bomber, it was originally intended to fly at high altitudes and supersonic speeds to avoid Soviet fighters. The B-58 was notorious for its sonic boom, which was often heard by the public as it passed overhead in supersonic flight.

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