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Topic: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Geezer
Posted 2012-12-03 22:37:28 and read 7687 times.

Recently, while I was reading the excellent thread about the Strategic Air Command, mention was made of the B-58 Hustler super-sonic bomber. It seems that many people are still very "captivated" by that airplane. I have always been among those people, I guess because I was fortunate to be "around" when the Hustler first went into service.

I decided to do a search on the type and refresh my memory of it; this search ended up taking a couple of days, reading through several dozen excellent web sites, and I ended up finding out a lot about this fantastic A/C that I was unaware of.

The B-58 was truly a radical departure from any other bomber of it's time, and there were many things about it that were unique to that one plane.

World's first mach 2 bomber
Only medium bomber flown by one pilot
Unlike most mach 2 fighters, the Hustler could sustain Mach 2 speed for hours, rather than minutes

I had already read quite a lot about the Hustler, primarily about it's many accidents, and before now, I had always thought of it as a "death trap" of an airplane. As it turns out, even though it was an extremely complex plane, and very "unforgiving" if not flown properly, it actually had a pretty fair safety record as long as it was flown EXACTLY "by the book". (which required a VERY well trained crew, doing EVERYTHING "just right")

The B-58 had a most unusual crew arrangement; all three crewmen sat one behind the other, each one separated by about six feet from the one in front of him; access to each crew station was gained only by a single, forward raising "hatch", and each one had to climb down into the seat, which was actually inside of an "escape pod".

Now.....everyone who has ever admired this sleek looking bird, has marveled at it's sleek wind-screen; what few realize is......the pilot is the ONLY crew member who can actually see out of that cockpit ! The navigator / bombardier who sits about 6 feet behind the pilot, has a very small, 6 inch square "window" on each side of, (and very close to) his head. And that's the extent of what he can see........nothing forward or backward, just a 6 in. square window on either side ! The third crew member has the "strangest" job of all; the "DSO" or defensive systems operator AND he also helps the pilot manage all of the complex systems needed to keep the plane flying, such a fuel management, engine parameters, etc; almost everything a copilot normally does, even though he too only has two small 6 inch square windows to see out of ; Kinda like a co-pilot with no flight controls, and can't see where he's going !

Incidentally, when training to fly the Hustler, all pilots are "teamed" with a DSO, and the two do all of their training and later flying , as a team. The navigator / bombardiers train separately, but when they complete training, they join a team, and the three usually remain as a team.

Another thing about the B-58 you will notice when you see a photo of one sitting on a ramp; the landing gear; the plane appears to be sitting on "stilts"........the gear legs are soooo long; and check out those wheels and tires......(or are those roller skates ?) Here again, the Hustler falls prey to it's supersonic design; to go mach 2, you MUST have a very thin wing; to have any space to retract the landing gear into, you need a "thick" wing; well, the thing has to go fast, so instead of normal wheels and tires, the Hustler has........roller skates ! Anyone familiar with brakes on airplanes ( quite a few around here ), know that heavy planes landing fast create a LOT of heat; (with normal sized brake rotors and wheels) The B-58 touches down PDQ; ( pretty damned quick) (but AND Irtysh-Avia (Kazakhstan)">IT has dinky, "pint-sized" wheels, so as a consequence, a lot of Hustlers had a lot of very hot brakes (and the accidents that go with them).

The B--58 was...
Length-- 97 ft.
Wing Span--57 ft.
Height--31.5 ft.
Weight (empty) 55,561 lbs.
Weight (MTOW) 163,000 lbs.
Max speed 1,321 MPH
Range--5,124 miles
Service ceiling-- 62,999 ft.

On one refueled flight, a B-58 flew non-stop from Tokyo to London in 8 hrs. 35 min. ( 1962 )

So, summing it all up........for me, the most remarkable thing about the whole B-58 program.........the "stamina" and endurance of three men to sit, strapped into a "pod" / ejection seat, for many missions lasting 8 hours, and being unable to stand up, relieve themselves, and for two of them, with only two dinky, 6inch square windows to see out of, and after 3, 4, even 5 yrs of this, they STILL say they "loved it" !

Below are a few photos showing the access hatches open, and the dinky little side windows.

http://www.b-58hustler.com/morephotos2.html

Charley

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: ptrjong
Posted 2012-12-04 02:29:20 and read 7634 times.

Quoting Geezer (Thread starter):
they STILL say they "loved it" !

Nostalgia and pride work in strange ways. I don't think they were so fond of it.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: flagon
Posted 2012-12-04 04:15:58 and read 7593 times.

I seem to recall that at the time no fighter around the world could climb as fast as the Hustler, which pretty frightening....

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: rfields5421
Posted 2012-12-04 06:43:38 and read 7528 times.

I was lucky enough to see quite a few in flight when they did some low level testing in the Annie MOA north of Barksdale - back when I was in elementary school.

It just looked fast and cool.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Newark727
Posted 2012-12-04 07:47:19 and read 7496 times.

It's an amazing looking thing, for sure. Sometime I want to go back to the Pima air and space museum where they have one sitting out on display.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: ptrjong
Posted 2012-12-04 09:48:35 and read 7445 times.

Quoting flagon (Reply 2):
I seem to recall that at the time no fighter around the world could climb as fast as the Hustler, which pretty frightening....

I think that can only be true if it was less than four times as heavy as an F-104, which seems unlikely.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: rwessel
Posted 2012-12-04 11:48:37 and read 7394 times.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
I think that can only be true if it was less than four times as heavy as an F-104, which seems unlikely.

TThe climb rate of an aircraft is basically dependent on the interaction of the mass of the aircraft, the available thrust, and the L/D. You can't omit the L/D from the comparison.

OTOH, the published L/D of the B-58 does not appear to be high enough (11.3 vs. 9.2 for the F-104) to give it better climb performance at max mass (80,250kg vs. 13,170kg) assuming four (vs. one) 15,600lb engine. A B-58 at approximately 64,700kg should have comparable performance to a maxed out F-104.

On the third hand, it's likely that many training missions sent the B-58 flying with at a substantially lower fraction of its MTOW than similar missions in a F-104, which would lead to better observed climb performance.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Areopagus
Posted 2012-12-04 12:51:16 and read 7353 times.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 5):
Quoting flagon (Reply 2):
I seem to recall that at the time no fighter around the world could climb as fast as the Hustler, which pretty frightening....

I think that can only be true if it was less than four times as heavy as an F-104, which seems unlikely.

B-58 empty weight per OP: 55,561 lb.
F-104 empty weight per Wikipedia: 14,000 lb.

So it appears that the B-58 was just under 4x as heavy, plus it must have had lower wing loading. But the B-58's full combat load must have been more than 4x as heavy.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: ptrjong
Posted 2012-12-04 14:38:21 and read 7316 times.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 6):

Thanks. I knew I was being over simplistic  

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: planesofthepast
Posted 2012-12-04 15:13:33 and read 7293 times.

I finally got to see my first B-58 at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson last month. It is one of only 8 survivors of the 116 that were built. I took a few photos while there, and posted them at ...

http://www.planesofthepast.com/b58-hustler.htm

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Geezer
Posted 2012-12-04 19:00:12 and read 7213 times.

Below is a link to an interview of a D.S.O. on a B-58 that established a record flight from L.A. to N.Y.C. and return; he's being interviewed by someone from the USAF Museum, whose B-58 on display is the plane that set that record;
it's VERY interesting, and well worth reading.

L.A. to N.Y.C. and back record flight
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2711

This is a link to a fact sheet (from the museum I think) about the plane they have on display

Fact sheet on B-58 at U,S.A.F. Museum, Dayton, Ohio
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2685

Here are some photos that were on that web site........when I was downloading these photos, there was a button to get the "high res" image; ( I had already gone through and looked at all of them ); when I brought them up, they FILLED my entire 27 inch IMac display, and I could clearly read every label on every button, lever, etc.
My suggestion.......the next time you are needing a new computer, do yourself a BIG favor.........spring for a 27 in. iMac; you'll be thanking yourself every time you look at a really sharp, high resolution photo !

BTW........if you ever want to take a close look at the best preserved B-58 there is, you need to take a trip to Dayton, Ohio. While I was choosing the best photos to upload here, I was looking at the "overview" list of all the things they have on display at the USAF Museum; I'm thinking of uploading it here so everyone can see what all they have there.

B-58 Hustler in flight




B-58 Hustler in flight refueling




B-58 Hustler main instrument panel




B-58 Hustler Navigator / Bombardier Station




B-58 Hustler Navigator / Bombardier Station

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: C46
Posted 2012-12-04 22:45:23 and read 7145 times.

Great thread Geezer!

I think this video has been posted before but since you have a dedicated thread, it's worth posting again   Basically an emergency landing but amazing stamina by the crew - over 14 hours in flight with 8 inflight refuelings!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81etnP52EQE

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Geezer
Posted 2012-12-05 00:29:05 and read 7125 times.

When I was getting these photos together yesterday and putting titles on them, I clearly typed, "B-58 Escape Pod / Ejection Seat" on the last one. So that funny looking thing with the red cover may, (or may not) be in the navigator's station; but all three crewman have one, and they all look alike.

On one website I visited, there was an eye-witness account from a fellow who used to work at Bunker Hill Air Force Base in Indiana where one of the two bomb wings flying the B-58 was stationed. He said he had just gotten off work and was walking back to his barracks, when B-58 that had just taken off and had some kind of malfunction.......made a "loud noise".........when he looked up, the plane was clearly about to crash, and at that second, one escape pod came flying out, the plane crashed, and as he watched the pod, the parachute failed to deploy, thus killing the only crewman to have "punched out".

When I tried to find that website today, I was unable to; (maybe I better start using the "bookmark" function)

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: IMissPiedmont
Posted 2012-12-05 17:31:58 and read 6933 times.

I have some fond memories of the B-58 from my childhood and one terrifying one. They used to fly over the farm I was raised on and generally were several thousand feet in the air, loud but no big deal. One day though one of them came over at about 100 feet and it had to have been near sonic it came and went so quickly, I'm fairly certain that 's the last time I crapped my pants.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: rcair1
Posted 2012-12-07 14:58:44 and read 6622 times.

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 1):
Nostalgia and pride work in strange ways. I don't think they were so fond of it.

I friend of my was a pilot in the B-58 Hustler - he had a picture of him and his crew standing by one. To listen to him - he loved it. The performance was astounding as was the maintenance.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2012-12-08 08:10:09 and read 6496 times.

Many of the B/TB-58A crews transitioned into the FB-111A and stayed in SAC.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: prebennorholm
Posted 2012-12-11 19:55:05 and read 6061 times.

Quoting Geezer (Thread starter):
Unlike most mach 2 fighters, the Hustler could sustain Mach 2 speed for hours, rather than minutes

That can't be true.

My back of envelope calculaions give the B-58 a duration of 25 - 30 minutes going M2 at high altitude with 101,600 lbs fuel. Maybe a few minutes more than that at extreme altitude like 50k ft. But I doubt that it could lift full fuel tanks up there.

Anyway very impressive.

There is no plane which can carry afterburner fuel for hours. For the B-58 to do so the fuel load alone would have to near one and a half times MTOW.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: fridgmus
Posted 2012-12-12 13:59:56 and read 5927 times.

Short and sweet Charley,

The B-58 Hustler is my favorite aircraft of all time. I think it was a bit ahead of it's time and would most certainly have benefitted from later computer technology. Just imagine!

Thanks,

F

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-12 14:28:08 and read 5912 times.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 10):

I really like the "True Position" and "Destination Position" indicators... did they have GPS back then?  


David

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: rfields5421
Posted 2012-12-12 16:13:26 and read 5861 times.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 18):
did they have GPS back then?

No

GPS was a US Navy project which developed from studies to improve navigation. The first stallite based system was Transit in 1960. A ship could get a fix about once an hour.

What we know as GPS only became operational in the late 1970s, early 1980s. After KAL 007 was shot down in August 83, the decisions was made to take GPS from a secret military technology to a publicly available system.

Only in 2000 was civilian GPS able to offer a postion / fix with greater accuracy than 100 meters.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-12 18:23:22 and read 5824 times.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 19):

Sorry, should have made my   bigger...

...I've never seen such a coordinates display on any cockpit photo, though...

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 16):

According to Kenneth Owen's "Concorde - Story of a Supersonic Pioneer", the Concorde was the first aircraft to sustain Mach 2 for hours. A chapter in this books makes a comprehensive comparison between the Concorde and the B-58, just to demonstrate the current state of art in supersonic flight and aircraft engineering.


David

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Max Q
Posted 2012-12-12 18:45:27 and read 5820 times.

Concorde stays supersonic for hours without afterburners.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: rwessel
Posted 2012-12-12 23:52:34 and read 5776 times.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 19):
After KAL 007 was shot down in August 83, the decisions was made to take GPS from a secret military technology to a publicly available system.

It was earlier than that. I have a September 1980 issue of Air Progress that has an article on the future of navigation, which, apparently, was LORAN at the time, and they discussed the push for the very expensive NAVSTAR system by the military, which was trying to get civil aviation to help pay for the system.

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Geezer
Posted 2012-12-13 00:46:39 and read 5765 times.

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 16):
That can't be true.

I read quite a few internet sites about the Hustler trying to get this all together, and there was one article that clearly stated that; possibly they may have meant to say "supersonic" for hours rather than minutes, but if that's the case, they "screwed up", because they said "exceeding Mach 2 for hours...........There was a LOT of information about how the B-58 really gave the people tasked with scheduling the refueling tankers a fit, as the A.A.F. flew MANY missions with the Hustler that were simply to set records, and nothing more. And many of these record setting missions are of very long duration, a LOT of them over 8 hours, and there was even a story of one mission lasting something like 16 hours.

Some of these record flights took a BUNCH of refuelings; This bird really kept the "boomers" busy for a few years there!

What I found to be so interesting about all of this was, much of this information hasn't been available to the public before until fairly recently. I already "assumed" that I knew a fair amount about the type, as I remember very well when the first B-58 were in development, because we were seeing them flying around Dayton long before they finally entered regular duty with S.A.C. Also, my brother-in-law continued working in "experimental engineering" at Wright Field for a few years after the war ended, and he always heard a lot about what was going on with various projects.

Now I just found out, that when the A.A.F. finally finished testing the plane and were ready to establish the two Squadrons to operate it, Curtis LeMay actually jumped up and down, and really threw a fit, as he was dead set AGAINST having the Hustler become part of S.A.C. As all of you U.S.A.F. retirees know, General LeMay was one tough cookie, and usually got pretty much what he wanted, but in this "contest", he lost out to the Pentagon.
The really surprising thing to me though, was, I had always heard for years that the B-58 had this huge "stigma" about it, as being extremely dangerous to fly, and "unpredictable"..........then, reading what dozens of former flight crew members said about all of this, it really wasn't "like" many of the stories "assumed" it was; several pilots described it quite well; it was an extremely complex a/c, and it required a pilot / DSO team, training together as a team for quite some time, to be able to fly it safely; even then, as one pilot explained, "you had to "stay ahead of it"; then, when flown "by the book", it was very stable, and the crews were very confident of it's safety when operated properly.

As we all know, even in the old A.A.F. that doesn't always happen ! a good example.....military leaders around the world very quickly became aware of some of the impressive capabilities of the Hustler, and the A.A.F. really wanted to "show it off".........so they flew one to the Paris Air Show; The pilot flying the "demo" (if I'm not mistaken) was a civilian; and he flew the demo "solo", and VERY "light"; just enough fuel load for the demo; makes a few fast passes, does a "straight up" climb-out (which it was VERY good at, light), THEN..........some one on the ground (that's all they said, don't say who) "orders" the demo pilot to do a fast pass at low altitude, then a 180 roll, and fly inverted, before recovering and landing; the "book" clearly states......."the B-58 is NOT designed for aerobatics, NOT even designed to roll"; but "roll" he did, then became dis-oriented, made the opposite control input..........and almost instantly, make a huge smoking hole in the ground ! After which (of course) everyone the world over is yelling about how "dangerous" the B-58 Hustler is ! Crap like that was one of the things that doomed the Hustler; the main two things were.........it cost about 3 times as much to train crews to fly it, then about 3 times as much to operate and maintain it, and the MAIN reason they phased the program out after only 10 years..........there was no longer a mission for high altitude, supersonic bombers.

I can tell you this though......it was a hell of a plane to watch fly !

Charley

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-13 01:08:12 and read 5762 times.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 23):
As all of you U.S.A.F. retirees know, General LeMay was one tough cookie, and usually got pretty much what he wanted, but in this "contest", he lost out to the Pentagon.

Why was that so, Geezer? What did he originally want?


David

Topic: RE: B-58 Hustler Thread
Username: Geezer
Posted 2012-12-13 16:19:37 and read 5611 times.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 24):
Why was that so, Geezer? What did he originally want?

He already had what he wanted............hundreds and hundreds of B-47's, an d B-52's, all of which were much longer ranged than the super-sonic B-58 Hustler. And in the beginning, he also didn't "want" a bunch of damned I.C.B.M's "competing" with "his" manned bomber force. (This is all very well explained in the very good book, "A Fiery Peace In A Cold War".)

At the moment, I'm unable to recall who the SecDef was at the time, but he "won", the Hustler was put into service with S.A.C. and as we all know now, General Bernie Schreiver's I.C.B.M's became a BIG part of our "defense posture" during the cold war.

Charley


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