The sign accompanying the plane. It reads
North American XB-70 "Valkyrie"
The XB-70, one of the world's most exotic airplanes, was conceived for the Strategic Air Command in
the 1950s as a high-altitude bomber that could fly three times the speed of
sound (Mach 3). Because of fund limitations, only two were built, not as
bombers but as research aircraft for the advanced study of aerodynamics,
propulsion, and other subjects related to large supersonic aircraft.
The Valkyrie was built largely of stainless-steel honeycomb sandwich panels and
titanium. It was designed to make use of a phenomenon called "compression
lift," achieved when the shock wave generated by the airplane flying at
supersonic speeds supports part of the airplane's weight. For improved
stability at supersonic speeds, the Valkyrie could droop its wingtips as much
as 65 degrees.
The No. 1 XB-70 made its initial flight on September 21, 1964, and first
achieved Mach 3 flight on October 14, 1965. The No. 2 airplane first flew on
July 17, 1965, but on June 8, 1966, it crashed following a mid-air collision.
The No. 1 airplane continued its research program until flown to the Museum on
February 4, 1969.
||185 ft. 10 in. without boom; 192 ft. 2 in. with
||30 ft. 9 in.
||534,700 lbs loaded
||Six General Electric
YJs of 30,000 lbs. thrust
each with afterburner
||2,056 mph/1,787 knots (Mach 3.1) at 73,000 ft.
1,738 knots (Mach 3.0)
at 72,000 ft.
||4,288 statute miles/
3,726 nautical miles