Sep 222010

A publicity photo from Convair (from SDAM via Nankivil) showing the Convair XF-92 experimental delta winged research plane next to the Convair B-36. The size difference is really quite staggering.


 Posted by at 11:26 pm
  • Pat Flannery

    And you know, the one of the first versions of what would become the B-58 Hustler had a delta-winged aircraft around that size riding on top of a fuel/weapons/jet engine pod under a B-36…I wonder if the photo is somehow related to that?

  • Jim

    I recall seeing the single-wheel gear oleo for these at it is at the USAF museum and thinking that it must be some of gag.


  • Pat Flannery

    When they were using the single-wheel main gear, there were only two airfields in the US that could handle the thing’s weight, so test flights were just back and forth between those two.
    The real oddity was the one they equipped with tracked landing gear like miniature tanks on the bottom of the landing gear legs:
    IIRC, those could be spun up before landing to cut down on tread wear during touchdown.
    Nothing quite gets the size of the B-36 across like this comparison painting:
    Yes, take the wings and tail off of it, and you could almost put the B-17 in the bomb bay.

  • John Nowak

    For me, the striking bit isn’t the size; it’s design — the Ultimate WWII Bomber and the next generation.

    I’d caption “You Know A Technical Revolution Has Occurred When…”

  • Bob Axsom

    The B-36 was impressive for its size of course and I don’t think the painting captures the awesome size. It certainly does not capture the sound. To my eyes and ears it was like nothing else in its time. When I was in the 5th or 6th grade its cargo derivative XC-99 took off from Lindbergh Field in San Diego and climbed out over my school – it may have been the first flight. The school emptied spontaneously, teachers and all, to see it – the sound was so overwhelmingly and totally different than we had ever experienced that we were all made equal.

    As for size of the B-17 I was told the F-101 Voodoo was longer than it. I never checked it so that may be wrong but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Bob Axsom

  • Pat Flannery

    I never saw one in flight, but my parents remember squadrons of them flying overhead from Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota as they did training missions to the polar regions, and said the whole town used to shake when they flew over.
    …about the closest you can come to seeing how majestic Convair’s “Magnesium Cloud” was nowadays is watching the movie “Strategic Air Command” with Jimmy Stewart.
    I’m trying to remember if the tracked landing gear was powered when the aircraft was on the ground so that it could crawl around with the engines shut off…it must have used a gawdawful amount of fuel when taxiing.
    I was wrong BTW, with the original single-wheel landing gear, it could takeoff or land at three, not two, air fields: Fort Worth, Elgin AFB, and Fairfield-Suisun (later Travis) AFB.
    B-17G was 74′ 4″ long; F-101 Voodoo was 67′ 5″ long, so the B-17 was a bit bigger, but not by much.
    The XB-17 prototype was almost exactly the same length as the F-101, at 68′ 9″.

  • Michael Holt

    I saw at least one B-36 when I was about 7. I was high enough so that I had to identify it by its contrail.

    The contrails were also necessary to identify the B-47 and the B-52, both of which made occasional forays over my neighborhood. Once, a pair of fighters created a web of contrails during a dogfight. But the best of all was the day a lone F-80 blasted across the back yard, maybe a bit lower than he should have been.

    I never saw an F-84 in flight. This is odd because there was the local ANG squadron had them at that time.