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Any One Remember The B-58 Hustler?  
User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8108 times:

I was in a store yesterday, and as usual, I end up at the magazine rack; I always buy "Air & Space"; there was a "Collector's Edition", "Ultimates Aircraft" 10 Great Combat Airplanes.

Right up, my alley ! So I'm looking through it to see what their 10 Great Combat Planes are; one is the B-58 Hustler !

Needless to say, I took it home with me ! I don't know how many on here actually remember the B-58, but I remember back in the early 50's when the B-58's from then Bunker Hill AFB, used to come over my home town every evening, on mock bomb runs, and going Mach 1.3 or so all the way; made a LOT of noise ! I've read a lot about the plane over the years, but this article is full of information that I've never heard before. The Hustler was fast , fast, fast, to say the least; but it had a lot of problems; I'm sure every one on here has looked at photos of the B-58 before; but did you ever take a close look at the main gear wheels ? They look like roller skates ! I quote: "The Hustlers 22 inch wheels (inflated to 240psi) were too delicate for the weight and heat to which they were subjected, and frequently blew". They also caused some lives lost.

Obviously the wing into which they retracted was so thin, there was very little room for gear stowage; My question is, what were those 1950's designers thinking about ? But there's more.......a LOT more ! All in all, it's the best aviation magazine I've ever bought; I recommend it to any one loving to read about "the greatest' in military aviation;

Charley


Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7605 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8076 times:

I grew up about 45 miles north of Barksdale under the Annie Low MOA.

While the B-58 was never assigned to Barksdale as a based aircraft, we used to see the B-58 a lot. Back in the early 60s we even had one of the target test trains which ran back and forth on the rail line through town at times.

Saw a lot of B-58 and B-52 aircraft flying over, and occasionally a B-47.

We also had some of the B-58 low level sonic boom test flights.

The B-58 was my favorite strategic bomber.


User currently onlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 8009 times:

Quoting geezer (Thread starter):
My question is, what were those 1950's designers thinking about ?

Well, they were supposed to build a Mach 2 bomber and it was difficult.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7984 times:

The B-58 was the most advanced airplane of the late 1950s and early 1960s, until the SR-71 became operational in 1965.

User currently offlineebj1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7968 times:

B-58 was definitely pushing the state of the art at the time it was designed. As I recall, some 16 or so of the first airplanes were used for testing and many of those ended up being converted to TB-58A crew trainers. I seem to recall some crews feared the airplane. It was very demanding. On the other hand, it set a number of records and is most often remembered for that.


Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 7822 times:

Probably one of the most beautiful bombers ever built, second only to the XB-70, IMHO.


336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlinephotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2718 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7622 times:

Great aircraft. Anybody remember the movie "Fail Safe" where a group of United States “Vindicator” Bombers (portrayed by B-58 Hustler aircraft) flew against the capital of Russia, Moscow? Some pretty good air-to-air photography of the Hustler in that film.

User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7614 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 5):
Probably one of the most beautiful bombers ever built, second only to the XB-70, IMHO.

I agree with you, it certainly was a beautiful plane, and there's no denying it was very fast; however, one pilot who flew it from 1966 to 1970 said, "there were 116 aircraft built, 26 of which were destroyed in accidents, with 36 crew members killed; if that doesn't fit the definition of 'dangerous", I don't know what would."

I have always noticed how many people refer to various airplanes as being "beautiful"; I like beautiful airplanes as much as the next guy, but I also like safe airplanes, and "capable" airplanes; I always thought the F-104 Starfighter was a beautiful airplane; still do; but I also remember all of the large smoking holes in the ground they made in the vicinity of Dayton when I was growing up; and take a look at the type's military record........pretty hard to say it was a "great combat airplane"........but they sure are "pretty" to watch in the air !

I never have thought of the B-2 Bomber as being "pretty", but it's pretty hard argue against a plane that took off from Whiteman AFB in Missouri, dropped it's full load of bombs on the Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and landed at Diego Garcia, and logging 44.3 hours non-stop in the air. I'd say that's pretty "capable" !

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlinecmb56 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 231 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7570 times:

I worked with a gentlemen who was a B-58 crew chief back in the day. He said they would follow the planes out to the end of the runway and before TO would check for hot brakes. Once all 4 ABs were lit it didn't matter if you had a locked or dragging brake, you were gone. A locked brake would have been a big fire hazard.

User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7422 times:

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 4):
B-58 was definitely pushing the state of the art

I recall reading somewhere it had a very complex honeycomb designed skin support structure.

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 5):
Probably one of the most beautiful bombers ever built

No doubt about it, one of the most exotic looking planes to ever fly.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 6):
Anybody remember the movie "Fail Safe"

Eh, I saw Fail Safe and thought it was a kind of cheesy film made on a low budget. It was popular back in the day for its message. But as a young lad that watched it the first time, I was very disappointed in it because even as a dumb ass naive kid I saw all the incorrect information portrayed in the film.

Quoting geezer (Thread starter):
but did you ever take a close look at the main gear wheels ?

I saw up close the main wheel bogies on a piece at a museum. I, too, was struck by how small the tires were, but there sure were a lot of them. I recall they were arranged in dual sets on each axle. But how about that nose gear? I believe the original design on the prototype had it retracting back into the fuselage in a normal fashion. But when they decided to sling that giant equipment/fuel/bomb pod under the fuselage, it was redesigned so that the top would slide back on a rail and "pull" the rest of the gear up into the nose in order to clear the pod.

I think the 58 represented an era of great fear - building a complex and accident prone design was worth the price of ensuring an advantage. It reflected a design that was built on an almost war-footing basis. Shows how crazy those times were. Today we can't even get a new design in the air after nearly a decade and half of development. And if there is a single mishap there is a mandatory stand-down in place until it is resolved. Not saying that's necessarily a bad thing; just an amazing contrast.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7412 times:

Great YT video on this great bird.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx-uZZVc0dE



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineGyreaux130J From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7344 times:

Quoting geezer (Reply 7):
"there were 116 aircraft built, 26 of which were destroyed in accidents, with 36 crew members killed"
Quoting geezer (Reply 7):
I always thought the F-104 Starfighter was a beautiful airplane; still do; but I also remember all of the large smoking holes in the ground they made in the vicinity of Dayton when I was growing up

Beautiful aircraft both, no doubt. However, I hesitate to call them dangerous aircraft. These are low drag, high speed, unstable aircraft that require a pilot to stay on top of them every second they are in the air. I would venture to guess that in the hands of a a qualified pilot(by qualified I mean extremely proficient), they are no more a danger to fly than a Piper Cub.

Edit: Call me crazy, that's just my opinion.

[Edited 2012-03-02 01:27:28]


When all else fails, fly Martin Baker!
User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7304 times:

Quoting geezer (Reply 7):
I have always noticed how many people refer to various airplanes as being "beautiful"; I like beautiful airplanes as much as the next guy, but I also like safe airplanes, and "capable" airplanes; I always thought the F-104 Starfighter was a beautiful airplane; still do; but I also remember all of the large smoking holes in the ground they made in the vicinity of Dayton when I was growing up; and take a look at the type's military record........pretty hard to say it was a "great combat airplane"........but they sure are "pretty" to watch in the air !

I also would hesitate to call it a "dangerous" aircraft to fly. No doubt it had a very high loss record, but being state-of-the-art at the time of its design, it was also very difficult to fly. It handled much more like a fighter then a bomber, and therein lies the issue, where many of it's pilots flew conventional bombers with much different handing characteristics and flight envelope.

My comments were only about its looks. Hey, the other bomber I mentioned had an even worse loss rate of 50% (One lost out of two built).



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently onlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7293 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 12):
very difficult to fly.

An aircraft that is very difficult to fly is a dangerous aircraft to fly. A distinction between the two is just pilot's machoism.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7605 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7254 times:

But imagine the aircraft with todays advanced avionics and flight control systems. Much more stable and easier to keep in the flight envelope.

User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7189 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 13):
An aircraft that is very difficult to fly is a dangerous aircraft to fly. A distinction between the two is just pilot's machoism.

That depends on the pilot's and your opinion. In those days FWB did not exist. We're splitting hairs here...



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5419 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7148 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 13):
An aircraft that is very difficult to fly is a dangerous aircraft to fly.

It totally depends on the mission. If the mission is to fly straight and level that's one thing, if it is to fly fast and avoid being shot down by missiles and to out run and out maneuver opposing jet fighters of the day, that is another thing entirely. (And remember, it didn't really need to make it back home, we are talking about dropping nuclear bombs deep in enemy territory with little chance to refuel upon completion of the drop.)

I would posit that a "straight and level, easy to fly" airplane of the day would be much more dangerous plane to fly on an intrusion mission than a "edge of stability, very responsive, difficult to fly" plane.

The idea is to design the plane as best possible complete the mission.

I forgot to add that the B-58 was "the plane" that I remember seeing in a book as a kid that got me interested in and excited about aviation and planes.

Tugg

[Edited 2012-03-02 09:51:49]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7139 times:

Quoting tugger (Reply 16):
I would posit that a "straight and level, easy to fly" airplane of the day would be much more dangerous plane to fly on an intrusion mission than a "edge of stability, very responsive, difficult to fly" plane.

Great point Tugger. If you want "safe" fly a commercial airliner. Military aviation, by definition, is dangerous.



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently onlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3906 posts, RR: 19
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7111 times:

I'm only stating that flying an aircraft that is very difficult to fly is more dangerous to a pilot's health than flying an aircraft that is easy to fly. Nothing more, nothing less.


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13168 posts, RR: 78
Reply 19, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7057 times:

Quoting photopilot (Reply 6):
Great aircraft. Anybody remember the movie "Fail Safe" where a group of United States “Vindicator” Bombers (portrayed by B-58 Hustler aircraft) flew against the capital of Russia, Moscow? Some pretty good air-to-air photography of the Hustler in that film.

A good film representative of a fearful time.
Though overlooked and overshadowed by the dark satire of 'Dr Strangelove' released about the same time, B-52's in that film but additionally boosted by the genius of Kubrick and the actors - particularly Peter Sellars in his multiple roles.
(The USAF were rather concerned by the accuracy of the B-52's cockpit in the film, made in England where Kubrick was now based. When they asked how he did it the director replied 'Flight International magazine').

Fail Safe of course took rather more artistic licence with the B-58 as 'Vindicator'. But that did not matter as this was a more straight 'issue' film with it's own take on a potential for nuclear conflict.

Maybe best to see the B-58 as originally as a B-47 replacement?
Never had the numbers to be such a replacement, in truth quite apart from the technical challenges of building and deploying the B-58, like all strategic bombers the events of 4th October 1957, the launch of Sputnik and the associated belief that the USSR would soon be mass producing ICBM's, cast a shadow over the manned bomber.

It might be that this was as much as factor in the B-58's short service life (at least by more modern and B-52 standards), as the effort and expense of keeping what was a magnificent aircraft as a part of the nuclear posture.
Plus unlike the B-52, the B-58 was not as potentially versatile (they did briefly consider deploying a few for conventional bombing in Vietnam). It really was a one mission aircraft.
My understanding that the B-58 was effectively replaced by the FB-111A armed with SRAM's, though this version of the F-111 had it's original SAC buy reduced from over 200 to just 76.

Still would have loved to see a B-58 fly though.
(In preparation for it's fist flight, leading British and French Concorde test pilots flew B-58's a few times, stepping up from the Mirage IVA to get a feel of a large supersonic delta. This time with four engines).


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12339 posts, RR: 25
Reply 20, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 7029 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 18):
I'm only stating that flying an aircraft that is very difficult to fly is more dangerous to a pilot's health than flying an aircraft that is easy to fly

Large delta-wing aircraft aren't known for good field performance.

Add that to early jets which had issues with lag in spooling up, and I can imagine it was quite a handful.

Quoting GDB (Reply 19):
In preparation for it's fist flight, leading British and French Concorde test pilots flew B-58's a few times, stepping up from the Mirage IVA to get a feel of a large supersonic delta. This time with four engines

It makes perfect sense. I didn't know this, thanks!



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2098 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 7029 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 5):
Probably one of the most beautiful bombers ever built, second only to the XB-70, IM

Agreed! Very sexy aircraft both.



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 7014 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 15):
That depends on the pilot's and your opinion. In those days FWB did not exist. We're splitting hairs here...

Actually the CF-105 Arrow had an analog-driven FBW system, likely one of the first a/c to have one, as it flew in 1957.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinercair1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1308 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6778 times:
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A good friend of mine (now sadly passed on) was a pilot in the B-58. I realized this when I visited his office and saw pictures of him and his crew in front of the B-58. He said he loved flying the plane - nothing like it. Big, fast, powerful, but a handful. Said you could lift off - and if approved - do an AB climb out passing mach 1 in the climb.

He also said it was a maintenance nightmare - huge maintenance costs to keep it flying.

From a safety/crew standpoint - it was not comfortable- small and you could not move around. The crew were in capsules that could be ejected at high altitude at supersonic speed (this was added after some crew deaths on ejection with conventional systems I believe)

One story he told me - not 100% sure I believe it - Scotty was kind of a BS'er (he was a Realtor when I got to know him) - but he described a mechanical issue - hydraulics I think - that cause him to do a no-flap emergency landing - at DFW.

Said they landed - stopped - on the runway - and debarked, walking away and making a cordon. The airport wanted it off the runway - so they could use the runway - and he (as aircraft commander) said - nope - the tires will blow in a few minutes here. Brakes are probably seized. Standard for a no flap landing. We stay here till we get support from the usaf ground crews. Just as promised - the tires blew a minute later (maybe the plugs, don't know). Needless to say, the DFW crew was not happy, but I could picture Scotty just standing there and holding them all off - you'd have to know him. He drove a Caddy with a radio phone - not a cell phone - a radio phone like they had in the old days. When he parked, he'd pull the keys out of the ignition and drop them on the floor. Figured it was a good place to store them and if anybody really wanted it - they'd get it anyway.

I saw a B-58 later at the big museum/graveyard in Arizona - what a machine.



rcair1
User currently offlineJakeOrion From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1253 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6632 times:

I wasn't born when the B-58 was retired. But man I wish I could've seen these fly!



Also, I could never understand how the forward landing gear could retract with that main pod in the way until I came across this picture:




Every problem has a simple solution; finding the simple solution is the difficult problem.
25 legs : I was at the USAF museum today, and I must have stood near the nose of the B-58 for a good 5 minutes wondering how on earth the nose gear retracted.
26 Revelation : What a cool picture! I've seen all three aircraft types, but only in museums....
27 rwessel : I don't think the B-58 had flaps. Most deltas without separate horizontal stabs do not.
28 Post contains links bennett123 : I think that many people forget just HOW dangerous flying was then. Two figures off the top of my head are Supermarine Scimitar In service about 10 ye
29 planespotting : Gosh, with four huge engines on the wing and the massive fuel/bomb pod underneath, those engines had to be ridiculously powerful to overcome all that
30 4holer : ...Although, if memory serves, the GE engines that it shared with the CV880 were fast spooling.
31 Areopagus : The B-58 used the J-79, which was also used by the Phantom, Vigilante, and Starfighter. I saw a B-58 once, at the 1964 Hill AFB air show. I saw it as
32 JakeOrion : Now I'm curious why they designed it that way in the first place. One thing is for sure, that is some TALL landing gear. Only thing missing in that p
33 geezer : That's a great shot of the Hustler, the "Buff" and the B-36 all together; Speaking of the B-36...........there's an amazing photo in the article I re
34 Post contains links and images rwessel : They carried the B-58 structural test frame under a B-36. They stripped the tail, engines, and pretty much anything else they could remove from the B
35 rc135x : During the late 1960s and early 1970s, my next-door neighbor at Beale AFB (KBAB) was an SR-71 pilot. His prior assignment was in the B-58, which in re
36 geezer : Thanks for clearing that up ! In the photo they had in the magazine, it was impossible to see what, if anything , had been removed from the B-58 to m
37 Post contains links and images Gyreaux130J : I just finished this book last week. It's a great read and somewhat related to your post. I picked my copy up for $0.01(+ $3.99 S&H Still a good
38 rcair1 : Entirely possible. Before I posted I tried to determine that myself - my recollection was delta wings typically do not. However, I couldn't find any
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