B36 - those were the days

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Roland Donnell, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. Roland Donnell

    Roland Donnell Filing Flight Plan

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    I was reminded by my brother how we use to run outside upon hearing the thundering approach and lay on our backs to watch the B36's west bound from Carswell AFB lumber over our sleepy little town Graham, Texas. I wish I could have gotten up this close. Something probably only the old timers here can appreciate with Jimmy Stewart. Clip from Strategic Air Command.

     
  2. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Possibly my favorite airplane. Something of a steampunk monstrosity.

    They were amazingly large and capable aircraft for 1940's technology. The later, featherweight versions had combat ceilings (relatively low on gas, and after a long, long cruise climb) of 50K feet or more. There are multiple crews who claimed altitudes approaching 60,000'. They would have been invulnerable on night missions because the Russians lacked night fighters with that kind of altitude capability. They retired as SAM's began to be deployed, which was good timing. A 300 MPH bomber cruising at 50K' would have been extremely vulnerable to first generation surface to air missiles.

    The practical downside of a B-36? Six R-4360's with dual turbochargers. Those were big powerful recips and the odds of completing a 30 hour mission with all 6 recips (and 4 jets) running happily weren't great.
     
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  3. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    There’s one at the SAC Museum just west of Omaha. It’s a pretty impressive bird.
     
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  4. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The other 3 survivors are at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Castle Air Force Base in California, and the Pima Museum in Arizona. The one in Arizona was at Carswell in Fort Worth for years in an outdoor museum with a lot of other interesting stuff. Carswell was a major B-36 base and was co-located with the Convair plant where the B-36's were built. That airplane was supposed to be restored and put back on display indoors in Fort Worth, but the funding never worked out, so it went to Pima, much to the chagrin of the everyone in Fort Worth who had a history with the type and with that particular airplane.
     
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  5. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    Taken a few months ago at Pima.

    20210106_105822.jpg 20210106_105906.jpg
     
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  6. a572mike

    a572mike Line Up and Wait

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    My dad talks about how the windows would rattle when a group of them would fly over the farm house when he was a kid.
     
  7. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    NMUSAF, 2008:

    P1030863.JPG

    P1030882.JPG

    Display of the single-wheel main landing gear of the XB-36 prototype:

    P1030880.JPG
     
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  8. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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  9. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    It’s always amazing what we can do when we’re trying find more and better ways to kill millions of people.
     
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  10. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    or prevent the deaths of millions of people
     
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  11. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    Semantics. Strategic nuclear bombers are designed for one purpose only; drop big bombs and kill lots and lots of people. The WHY depends on your point of view. I like to think we do it to “prevent” wars and death. I’m sure all those other countries that build nuclear bombers say the exact same thing.

    Good thing, I guess, that we’re all working so hard not to kill each other... by figuring out better ways to kill each other.
     
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  12. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    One could argue that their primary purpose is as a deterrent, to make someone else believe that were they to attempt to drop big bombs these would be used to retaliate, and to be very effective at it. The actual dropping of said bombs is essentially a secondary purpose.

    Nauga,
    and his insurance policy
     
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  13. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't believe you actually understand the mission that SAC had.
     
  14. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    “Let’s make this look good, we’ll never actually use it...”

    And I understand SAC’s mission perfectly well, thanks.
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    I only recently learned about this museum/display. I am up in the Twin Cities and that is barely at 2hr flight for me. Is there a nearby airport with courtesy car? Can you actually land at this location? Any details would be great!
     
  16. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    So then why post what you posted? I don’t get your point at all.
     
  17. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    A few more from PIMA. I had a Hasselblad with and took these on film. I have no clue where the cleaned up scans are so these are raw. 5yr old daughter for scale on the F-111. Hard to think that thing ever took off a carrier.

    HB500CM_SCAN__0086.jpg

    HB500CM_SCAN__0085.jpg

    HB500CM_SCAN__0088.jpg
     
  18. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    The B-36 was called "Peacemaker", and one can argue it was 100% successful at its mission... never dropped a bomb in anger, and there was no nuclear war.

    But what can you say about an airplane that has 336 spark plugs?
     
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  19. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    A failed mag check would totally suck :)
     
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  20. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That only Uncle Sam, with an infinite budget for holding off the Godless Commies, could afford a fleet of over 300 of 'em.
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Cha Ching.!!! Is what I would say if I owned a local NAPA store.....:lol:
     
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  22. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    “...with all 6 recips (and 4 jets) running happily weren't great.”

    OMG, the dreaded NINE engine approach!

    Tools
     
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  23. topgun260

    topgun260 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    "5yr old daughter for scale on the F-111. Hard to think that thing ever took off a carrier."

    Is that an F-111B? Was there a secret program where the Air Force was launching F-111's off of carriers?
     
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  24. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    I don't think it was ever secret. Looks like only 1 airframe was tested on a carrier but this page indicates it was successful. See the section titled "Operational History". In a way it was a interesting predecessor to the F-14.

    https://military.wikia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics–Grumman_F-111B
     
  25. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    The Navy B model did not have that long nose that gave the F-111 it’s name: Aardvark.

    And it is true that there is a huge amount of Vark DNA in the Tomcat.
     
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  26. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    KMLE is not far. I don't know what the courtesy car situation is there these days, you could call Oracle Aviation. Unfortunately, there's no place closer. I've flown over a few times.

    I don't understand what's so difficult to grasp here. What I posted shouldn't be that hard to understand. The airplane was designed specifically to fly thousands of miles and drop nuclear bombs on people. Period. It had no other purpose. None were ever used for anything else. What the intent of the political system that built is might have been is a completely separate question, and not what I commented on.

    If I were to place a Claymore mine in front of my house to discourage axe murderers from visiting, the fact that I never actually want detonate it does not alter the fact that the device itself was designed for one purpose, and one purpose only -- it was designed to kill people. The use case does not alter that.
     
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  27. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Nukes didn’t exist when the B-36 was designed. It was designed as an ultra long range conventional bomber. Later, it was adapted to tote nukes.
     
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  28. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well good, I feel validated.
     
  29. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    My uncle was a flight engineer on a B-29 during the Korean War.
    As you might suspect, when the Migs came on-line the life expectancy of a B-29 crew was approximately 17 seconds, yet he managed to survive his tour.
    When he rotated back to the states they sent the entire crew to B-36 school and put him in the B-36.
    As he told the story, it took him less than two months in the B-36 to volunteer to go back to Korea and the B-29.
    He did not have a good opinion of the plane and wanted nothing to do with it.
     
  30. Archer Jack

    Archer Jack Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    My late dad spent 30 years in the Air Force in both SAC and TAC (mostly SAC). If memory serves SAC's motto was "peace is our profession." I believe they were 100% successful since they never had to be used for their intended purpose.
     
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  31. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    SAC nukes, yes. Conventional, not so much. SAC bombers dropped ordnance on Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq.

    But listen... I'm not arguing our strategic policies or anything else. Really, I'm not. I enlisted, spent my time defending peace and freedom and all that. I love old military aircraft, and have owned a couple of ex-military guns and things. I'm not some tree-hugging woke hippie liberal -- just ask anyone who knows me.

    But I would not be so naive as to think that the M16 or M60 that I once carried, or the Spad, Camel, P-51, B-29, B-36, B-52, or Claymore was designed for peace. All were/are weapons designed to kill people and break things in large numbers. The fact that having them can be used as a deterrent to others is not germane to discussing their design goals.

    One can admire the equipment and the technology while still recognizing its intended purpose. I just think it's interesting and not entirely encouraging that so many of our greatest achievements have been accomplished while in the process of trying to figure out how to more quickly and efficiently kill each other.
     
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  32. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Apparently, it IS motivating. And with active competition during wartime great advancements are frequently made. Radar and radar warning receivers durning WWII for example.
     
  33. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    The list goes on and on. Canning food was developed to supply the French army. We've made huge advances in chemistry, medicine, meteorology, electronics, radio, computers, prosthetics, and all sorts of other technology, all due to our proclivity for waging war.

    And really, where would we be without the catapult and trebuchet for flinging pumpkins?
     
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  34. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And cows...

     
  35. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Add superglue to that list.
     
  36. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    One of my favorite movies, although I like the B-47 parts better.

    I love how they're starting those massive engines and no one is wearing hearing protection.

    I SAID, I see no one wore hearing protection back then. :rolleyes:
     
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  37. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    [​IMG]
     
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  38. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    6 turning and 4 burning. The motto of the B-36. If the Pilot didn’t follow the proper shut procedure for the recips, long hours of plug changing ensued.

    A late friend of mine was a gunner in B-29’s slated to go to Korea when the war ended. He was first reassigned to B-36 school before being retrained as a jet engine mechanic. He told me about an AirPower Demonstration he watched as a B-36 started dropping conventional bombs one by one as it came into sight and was still at it as it disappeared out of sight. Much adult beverage was being consumed as this story was told but it would have been impressive to see.

    Cheers
     
  39. Eldorado

    Eldorado Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Many believe the B36/nuclear bomb was our only deterrent after WW2. We had demobilized as did the rest of our allies while Russia and China were still building their military. Europe’s and our only defense from 1947 till late 50’s was the “Peacemaker”/nuclear bomb threat. We had limited conventional weapons, personnel or allies to prevent a massive 5 million soldier invasion. Only the B36 posed the ability to strike the USSR with an atomic bomb till we developed ICBMs, aerial refueling, & nuclear subs. It may not of been a perfect deterrent, but the only one we had after our demobilization.
     
  40. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    One thing about the B-36 that I had never seen before was the Propeller anti ice system. Notice the vent at the end of the blade from my Pima picture below.

    20210106_110109.jpg

    Now a diagram of the system I found online. Search for "angelfire.com b-36". I could not get the link to past correctly.

    B-36_Prop_deicing.jpg