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B-58A Hustler

s/n 55-666

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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.

HISTORY

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.

 

Specifications 
Average Cost: $12,442,000 each
Crew: 3
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.