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Video: B-58 Hustler 1960s Low-Level Bombing Documentary

This 1960s documentary profiles the low-level bombing capabilities of the B-58 during several test flights, and also serves as a great example of the kind of intimidating information the US pushed towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War. ( さらに...

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From Fort Worth to the California coast at 610 kts at or below 500 AGL, flown by dead reckoning and pilotage. There had to be some startled cows, and maybe a few people that day. One of the prettiest airplanes ever built.
744pnf 3
VERY bad news to lose an engine @ hi-speed. Usually resulted in a crash.
I agree with Ray, one of the best looking aircraft I've ever seen.
cdinvb 5
Love the low level smoke the J-79s lay down. Growing up on a departure heading from Bunker Hill we got an occasional bam! bam! that rattled windows. But we never saw them. And still a treat to go look over the static display airplane outside the former base.
So cool you got to see them in action! When I pass the museum there at Grissom on US31 I think about what it might have been like in those days...
That J-79 smoke trail is distinctive....and lethal (at Mil power)! It was an NVA AAA gunners dream. It pointed directly at the F-4 like an arrow up the tail pipe! (but we finally learned to go 1st stage burner inbound from the IP to the tgt; that minimized the smoke a lot)
There is a B-58 at the AF Museum in Dayton (along with just about everything else). Worth a trip there if you have never been.
I remember them in the original "Failsafe" movie. They were the "Vindicator" bombers in that one. Very cool aircraft. Thanks for sharing!
oowmmr 3
Great tip on Failsafe.
I remember a story being told one time, and don't know where or if true, but it said that one took off basically straight up into the clouds, and just fell back down in pieces, just totally came apart.
They were about the last SAC thing at Little Rock AFB as them and the missile wing kinda came down together. I was stationed at Davis Monthan in 1969 when the 1st one came in from there to hit the boneyard as they started deactivating them. Seems like there were 3 wings out and LIT was the first to go away.
My Dad worked on the B-58 at Convair in Ft Worth while these ac were in production. The front seat was the only seat with a forward view. Really cool.
Usher73 1
My dad worked on it too. We lived on the east side of Fort Worth.
Beautiful plane, my favorite of all time. One of the first to have an onboard computer (Tube-type!), but by the time it was actually built the Soviets could bring down highflying planes and tactics changed. I entered AF right after their demise and met several maint types who were being retrained and they all said it was a maint nightmare of the first order, taking many more maint hours per flying hour than any plane in the inventory. Also, it was proven not as useful as they thought in low-level penetration/bombing runs. The inboard engines, being on pylons, tended to shake badly at high speeds and low level. And since the B-58 did not last long in service, SAC and AF bought the FB-111s to replace them, actually being the planned Navy version of the F-111 the Navy backed out of.
The F-111 was a great uni-service concept; but poor operational results! Big waste!! BUT..... it at least provided an interim "semi-smart" capability.
I can remember building a Revell model of the B58 when I was a kid. Beautiful aircraft.
Me too! I think it was the first model I ever built.
We gonna all tell our ages here before long. LOL
Yeah, I realized that I was dating myself with the post!
You know, apropos of El Thirtynine's post, I vaguely remember that you could get a B-58 model or toy from a cereal box. In my memory, it seemed like that plane was everywhere in the public eye back in the day, at least to a fascinated kid. So much so that by the time I was in high school, I was wondering what the heck happened to it, as it seemed to suddenly disappear. (Now The Google can answer the question, of course. Damn kids these days.... <g>)
I have you beat, ELDON had a built up plastic version probably around 1960, had droppable pod and I think the pilot ejected out the top with a parachute.
I flew the B-58 from 1963 to 1966 out of Carswell AFB and in 1964 the 43 BW moved to Little Rock AFB in Arkansas.
Prior to this flight, a crew flew from LA to NY in just 2 hours and 56 seconds.
You may recall one that ran off the end of the runway at Moron AB in Spain in the early '60s. They were attempting to land/refuel enroute to the Paris Air Show. I investigated the accident (reduced to "incident"). In those days SAC "staff" personnel were often cleared to fly high profile aircraft...and often with bad results!In this case he was high,long,and hot....always a bad short-final profile! The damage wasn't "major" but getting that thing out of the dirt and back up on runway was. My memory is that he was a flight of two and the other went on to Paris and it too had problems??
I was based at Lincoln AFB from '62 to '65. They had KC-97s and B-47s there, along with the Atlas "F" missile squadron I was with. I remember seeing a Hustler landing there one fine day. I think the entire contingent of flight crews, and about 90% of the rest of the base personnel, turned out to look at it from as close as they could get (not very!), and to watch as it took off. The pilot gave a little bit of a show when he took off - steep climb out, hard turn back, and a low high-speed flyby, rocking his wings as he blasted past the tower in full afterburner at what was probably 400 kts! Woo-hoo! We were all jumping up and down, screaming at the top of our lungs like a bunch of high school kids at a football game!
I'm glad to see the Air Guard and the city are still using this field. It would be a shame for 13 grand to go to waste.
Lucky you. I graduated high school in 65. Wish I could have been there. I then joined the Navy in 66. Didn't want to get drafted into the Army. Spent a while in F4B Phantom school at NAS Oceana and then floating around off Vietnam on the USS Forrestal repairing Phantoms in VF11. Most of our squadron got fried in the big fire and we were rebuilding VF11. Not a great feeling especially when our boat was nick named the USS Forest Fire.
There was a time when B-58's set records for flights that were later broken by SR-71's. One such Hustler that set one of those records was on display at the SAC museum for years. The museum has moved away from Offutt AFB, I think, to a place north of Omaha, but I imagine it's still part of their displays.
oowmmr 2
the delta series friggin' cool!!
I may have built a model of it back in the 60s, maybe while we were in Japan when I was a kid (the bases now returned to Japanese control and the housing area now gone). I always liked the lines of the Hustler over the BUFF and I was born at Plattsburg AFB (now closed too).
bdarnell 1
I remember being in Jr. High in Carmel, In in the 60's and our class took a field trip up to Bunker Hill AFB (now Grissom). We got to climb into the cockpit of a B-58, too. Pretty cool for a young kid.
oowmmr 1
Would have been pretty cool for this old guy, lucky you!!!
Favorite plane of all time. Beautiful design. Too bad it didn't last.
I spent a lot of hours flying my Cessna 310 and later my Mooney over the Dakotas,Montana,Minnesota and the UP. I was always staying as far away from the oil-burner routes as possible.
The video was removed by the user. :(
Just worked for me!
I remember when sonic booms were not so unusual. One summer, circa 1960-61, when visiting my grandparents in Shreveport, La, I remember an unusually high incidence of them. Shreveport was/is the location of Barksdale AFB but it was not the source of the planes causing all the booms. Carswell AFB was less than 200 miles east of there and was the location of a wing of B-58's. Shreveport media quickly explained it was the Hustlers on training flights that were responsible. Back then sonic booms were often called 'the sound of freedom'.
oowmmr 1
Yea, we lived near KSJC and there used to be sonic booms must have been an IR route. I see IR203 but its too far south. V301 or V107 seems the direction, certainly the routes have changed since the sixties.
The video doesn't mention any in-flight refueling. I find it real difficult to believe you can run those J-79's at 500 feet for anywhere near that distance. There couldn't possibly be sufficient fuel in those wings and fuselage (I don't see any external tanks - maybe I should look again) for enough fuel to go that far. I'm calling this a propaganda film but do appreciate the great footage of a very impressive airplane.
Well, it is a Convair film.
The pod on the belly carried fuel and a "nuclear device." It had a 1,500 mile combat radius "at cruise altitude", which was reduced to about 950 miles for low altitude missions. It was capable of being refueled in-flight, so the range could be extended tremendously. For instance, in 1963, a B-58 flew the longest supersonic distance. It went from Tokyo to London, a distance of 8,028 miles, in 8 hours, 35 minutes, 20.4 seconds, averaging 938 mph. Obviously, it could not have done this without aerial refueling. As far as I know, this is still the record for a long-distance supersonic flight.
I first saw a B-58 in person in l967. It helped confirm my desire to fly in the USAF. While I spent my 7-1/2 year career in TAC flying single seat fighters, I still consider the B-58 along with the SR-71 as two of the most beautiful warplanes, especially in flight. It's too bad the B-58 had so many problems and never got to drop a bomb in anger (as far as I know). It was a great recruiting tool however!
Hi Jon. Hope things are going well. Do you happen to have a digital copy of the 69-07 yearbook ? Handy item. Please drop me a note when convenient. Regards. Rick Cliff
Can't remember them all, but it had some issues and I am like you, I don't think it ever saw combat.
Wikipedia has a good article on the history of the B-58. It was designed as a supersonic high-flyer, but by the time it became operational the Soviets had an effective high-altitude SAM capability. This video demonstrates how the USAF was trying to prove low-altitude tactics, but this limited the aircraft to sub-sonic speeds and further decreased its relatively limited range. By this time the B-52 had proved effective with longer range, bigger payloads, and lower operating costs.
The BUFF could do low altitude as well; at least the did some testing on it. Low level, the sound stayed behind it and unless you SAW it coming, you wouldn't know it was there til it passed you.
Don't know where they were coming from, probably Barksdale as I don't think Little Rock ever had any, but our country here in Western AR resembled 'Nam and they flew bad low up thru here. I remember being out hunting several times in the 60's, looking up and seeing a BUFF, low and slow. You felt like you could reach up and touch him.
From Wikipedia: ". . . the B-58 had an unfavorably high accident rate: 26 B-58 aircraft were lost in accidents, 22.4% of total production. Most notably, the B-58 was very difficult to safely recover from the loss of an engine at supersonic cruise due to differential thrust."
My memory isn't as good as it used to be but I vaguely remember having a postcard sized photo of the Hustler that I got out of a cereal box. It was one of my favorites of the series. Shredded Wheat, maybe?
Some excellent info about the plane here:
I worked on Hustler at Convair in 1956. Was a Co-Op working in the Fuel and Oil Group routing fuel lines through the wing.
Far as I know the only external fuel it could carry was in the centerline pod not shown here. I agreed on all your points, wondered about refueling myself.
One of my earliest memories was seeing a B-58 flying over my home on the banks of the South Platte River in Nebraska. If it actually was a B-58, it must have been low-level — I turned out to be extremely near-sighted ...
Excellent. Only thing that would make it better would be more and better cockpit shots. Wish I could get a ride along. Two thumbs up.


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