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Convair B-58 Hustler
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I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
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Convair B-58 Hustler
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)

    The Convair B-58 Hustler was the first operational supersonic jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight. The aircraft was designed by Convair engineer Robert H. Widmer and developed for the United States Air Force for service in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the 1960s. It used a delta wing, which was also employed by Convair fighters such as the F-102, [GO!] with four General Electric J79 engines in pods under the wing. It carried five nuclear weapons; four on pylons under the wings, and one nuclear weapon and fuel in a combination bomb/fuel pod under the fuselage, rather than in an internal bomb bay.
    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 received a great deal of notoriety due to its sonic boom, which was often heard by the public as it passed overhead in supersonic flight.
    The introduction of highly accurate Soviet surface-to-air missiles forced the B-58 into a low-level penetration role that severely limited its range and strategic value, and it was never employed to deliver conventional bombs. This led to a brief operational career between 1960 and 1970, when the B-58 was succeeded by the smaller, swing-wing FB-111A.

1614 10/24/2015

Interesting Facts
  • Equipped with advanced inertial and star-tracking navigation systems
  • used a live bear in ejection tests
  • featured voice of actress/singer Joan Elms--known by crew as “Sexy Sally”--in automated voice warnings
  • cost three times as much to maintain as B-52 [GO!}
  • racked up high accident rate, 26 of 116 lost
  • appeared in 1964 Sidney Lumet film, “Fail Safe”
  • flown by record-setting pilot Henry Deutschendorf, father of singer John Denver.
AIR FORCE Magazine / May 2009

1455 10/29/2015

The B-58 Hustler
In Brief
  • Designed and built by Convair
  • first flight Nov. 11, 1956
  • crew of three [pilot, bomb-nav, weapon system officer]
  • number built 116
  • bomb load 19,450 lb
  • Specific to B-58A: four General Electric J79-GE-5B engines
  • max speed 1,385 [Mach 2/1]
  • cruise speed 611 mph
  • max unrefueled range 1,550 mi
  • weight [loaded] 163,000 lb
  • span 56 ft 10 in
  • length 96 ft 9 in
  • height 31 ft 5 in
AIR FORCE Magazine / May 2009

1425 10/29/2015

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