The Convair B-58 Hustler was the world’s first supersonic nuclear bomber. It set 19 speed and altitude records, won six aviation trophies, and released the first bombs at speeds of MACH 1 and MACH 2. Though revolutionary, the B-58 was plagued with technical problems and high costs, limiting total production to only 116 aircraft. These aircraft equipped the 43rd and 305th Bomb Wings, but never saw active combat. The B-58’s operational service with the United States Air Force lasted from 1960-1969.
1958, March -- Built at Convair in Fort Worth, Texas, and took its first flight.
1958, 8 November -- GE J79-GE-5 jet engine test aircraft and flew 32 minutes at Mach 2.
1959, 29 April -- Delivered to the USAF as a YB-58A-CF, but retained by Convair as test and evaluation YRB- 58A aircraft.
1962, 16 August -- Made longest B-58 early test program flight of 11 hours 15 minutes.
1962, November -- Assigned to the 6510th Operational Maintenance Squadron (AF Systems Command), Edwards AFB, CA.1964, May -- Assigned to 3345th Maintenance & Support Group (ATC),
Chanute AFB, IL as GRB-58A.
1967 -- Transferred to museum status.
The current nose art on B-58A, s/n 55-666, depicts that of B58A, s/n 61-2059, “Greased Lightning” assigned to the 305th Bomb Wing. On October 16, 1962, B58A, s/n 61-2059 flew nonstop (with airborne refueling) 8028 miles from Tokyo to London in 8 hours and 35 minutes.
|Average Cost:||$12,442,000 each|
|Wingspan:||56 ft. 10 in.|
|Length:||96 ft 9 in|
|Height:||31 ft 5 in|
|Wing Area:||1,542 sq.ft.|
|Weight:||55,560 lb,; Max: 63,000 lb|
|Speed:||Cruise - 610 mph.; Max - 1,385 mph. @44,000 ft.|
|Service Ceiling:||53,150 ft.|
|Range:||5,063 mi. (with refueling)|
|Engine:||4 - General Electric J79-GE-5 turbojet (15,600 lbs. thrust in afterburner.)|
|Armament:||1 - 20mm roatry tail cannon; various nuclear and conventional bomb loads in belly pod and on wing pylons.|
This aircraft is on loan to the Chanute Air Museum from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.