The sign accompanying the aircraft. It reads
The B-36 Peacemaker was the largest aircraft ever
Known by pilots as the "Magnesium Monster," it reaped two other distinctions
during its career. It was the only U.S. bomber never to drop a bomb in war and
the only aircraft capable of attacking a target on another continent and
returning to home base without having to refuel. A B-36J crew consisted of a
pilot, copilot, two navigators, bombardier, flight engineer, radio operator,
radar operator, two ECM operators and five gunners.
The B-36 was first conceived in 1941 as a trans-Atlantic bomber to strike
Europe from bases in the U.S. Development of the bomber was delayed, and then
ordered into production in 1943 for use against the Japanese home islands.
however, the XB-36 prototype's first flight wasn't until August 1946.
The development and use of the atomic bomb convinced the U.S. Air Force that i
needed an intercontinental bomber. General Kenney's successor as commander of
SAC, General Curtis LeMay, supported the B-36, claiming: "We can get a B-36
over a target and not have the enemy know it is there until the bombs hit."
The first B-36s joined SAC in 1948. At the peak of its power, SAC had ten
wings totaling more than 340 B-36s and RB-36s.
A number of versions of the B-36 were developed during its career to improve
armaments, speed, range, and weapon aiming. They included the RB-36D strategic
reconnaissance model, which was equipped with fourteen cameras, and the
featherweight versions, which reduced the aircraft's empty weight to gain more
speed, altitude, and range. The first B-36 flight was on September 3, 1953.
Gradually the B-52 replaced the B-36, and development of the jet engine made
the B-36 obsolete. All B-36s were phased out of service by in the U.S. Air
Force by 1959.
About This B-36J
This B-36J (SN 52-2217) was manufactured by the Forth Worth Division of General
Dynamics and delivered to the Strategic Air Command on December 22, 1953. It
was dropped from the inventory and flown to the SAC Museum on April 2, 1959,
making it the second to last B-36 to fly. It is one of four remaining B-36
aircraft in existence today.
This aircraft is on loan from the U.S. Air Force Museum Program.
Specifications of the B-36J
Mission: Strategic intercontinental bomber
Range: 3,990-mi radius with 10,000-lb bomb load, 2,399-mi radius
with 72,000-lb bomb load, 9,443-mi ferry range
Height: 46' 9"
Fuselage length: 162' 1"
Years of service: 1948-1959
Years with SAC: 1948-1959
Number built: 385 (all models), 33 (B-36J)
Number assigned to SAC: 340+
Power Plant: 6 Pratt & Whitney R-4360
pusher-type radial engines, 3,800 HP each, and 4 General Electric J-47-GE-19
turbojets, 5,200-lb static thrust each
Weight, empty: 158,843 lb
Weight, loaded: 410,000 lb
Maximum take-off weight, loaded: 410,000 lb
Armament: 8 remote-controlled General Electric turrets in the nose
and tail, each turret equipped with 2 20-mm cannon
Capacity: 72,000 lb maximum, or 4 gravity nuclear weapons equivalent
Maximum speed: 411 MPH at 36,400 ft
Cruising speed: 391 MPH
Service ceiling: 39,900 ft (combat) 42,200 ft (maximum)