Photo: Robert Deering 1970
Greater Southwest Airport
Fort Worth, Texas
Responding to the
U.S. Army Air Forces' requirement for a
strategic bomber with intercontinental
range, Consolidated Vultee (later Convair)
designed the B-36 during World War II. The
airplane made its maiden flight in August
1946, and in June 1948 the Strategic Air
Command received its first operational B-36.
Some B-36s served as photographic
reconnaissance aircraft, and others were
adapted to launch and retrieve specially
modified RF-84F/K reconnaissance planes.
Powered by six Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines, the B-36J cruised at 230 mph, but for additional bursts of speed its four General Electric J47s increased the maximum speed to 435 mph. It carried 86,000 pounds of nuclear or conventional bombs. When production ended in August 1954, more than 380 B-36s had been built for the U.S. Air Force. In 1958-1959, the USAF replaced the B-36 with the all-jet B-52. Although never used in combat, the B-36 was a major deterrent to enemy aggression.
Maximum speed: 435 mph
Cruising speed: 230 mph
Range: 10,000 miles
Ceiling: 45,700 ft.
Span: 230 ft.
Length: 162 ft. 1 in.
Height: 46 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 410,000 lbs. loaded
Source: National Museum of the United States Air Force