North American XB-70 Valkyrie
The XB-70, one of the world's most exotic airplanes, was conceived for the Strategic Air Command in the 1950s as a high-altitude bomber that could fly three times the speed of sound (Mach 3). Because of fund limitations, only two were built, not as bombers, but as research aircraft for the advanced study of aerodynamics, propulsion, and other subjects related to large supersonic aircraft. The Valkyrie was built largely of stainless-steel honeycomb sandwich panels and titanium. It was designed to make use of a phenomenon called "compression lift," achieved when the shock wave generated by the airplane flying at supersonic speeds supports part of the airplane's weight.
"A unique characteristic of the Valkyrie's configuration was its ability to ride its own supersonic shock wave, much the same as a surf board glides on the crest of a wave. Called Compression Lift, this principle markedly reduced drag and was the secret of the XB-70s performance."
"The Valkyrie's delta wing had an area of 6,300 square feet making it the largest structure of its type yet built. To increase directional stability at high Mach numbers the outer third of each wing was folded downward. This increase of keel are at Mach 3 allowed the size of the rudders to be reduced by more than 100...."
For improved stability at supersonic speeds, the Valkyrie could droop its wingtips as much as 65 degrees.
Both of the above quoted paragraphs are from "U.S. BOMBERS" by Lloyd S. Jones, 1974.
The No. 1 XB-70 made its initial flight on September 21, 1964, and achieved Mach 3 flight on October 14, 1965. The No. 2 airplane first flew on July 17, 1965, but on June 8, 1966, it crashed following a mid-air collision. The No. 1 airplane continued in its research program until flown to the Museum on February 4, 1969.
Span: 105 ft.
Length: 185 ft. 10 in. without boom; 192 ft. 2 in. with boom
Height: 30 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 534,700 lbs. loaded
Engines: Six General Electric YJ-93s of 30,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburner.
Maximum speed: 2,056 mph. (Mach 3.1) at 73,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 2,000 mph. (Mach 3.0) at 72,000 ft.
Range: 4,288 miles
Service Ceiling: 77,350 ft.
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