Convair B-36 Peacemaker
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I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
in the...
Convair B-36 Peacemaker
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
In February 1959, Strategic Command took the last of 383 Convair B-36 planes out of service. This gigantic mixed propulsion bomber was the end product of a technical approach that had been formed during the years of World War II. The B-36 design went back to April 1941, when the U.S. Army Air Forces had issued an official request for a bomber capable of carrying 4.5 tons of bombs for a distance of nearly 5,000 miles. It was slowed down by development difficulties and above all by the course of the war, and the prototype B-36 only flew on August 8, 1946 when the war was already over.

        In August 1947, the first of 22 B-36A trainers reached units. These were soon followed by 73 fully operational B-36Bs, with first flights on July 8, 1948. On March 26, 1949 the B-36D which had four J47 turbojet engines added to the six radial Wasp Major engines of the preceding series. With this change the B-36D showed a significant improvement in general performance and ended up by becoming the most important production version. Although several additional versions were produced the B-36H version ended production of the "Peacemaker" in August 1954.

  • Wingspan: 230 ft.
  • Length: 162 ft. 1 in.
  • Height: 46 ft. 8 in.
  • Weight: 410,000 lbs. loaded
  • Armament: Twelve 20mm cannon with normal bomb load of 86,000 lbs.
  • Engines: Six Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 Wasp Majors 28-cylinder air-cooled radials, 3,800 hp each; and four General Electric J-47-GE-19 turbojets, 5,200 lb thrust each.
  • Engines: Six Pratt & Whitney R-4360-53 Wasp Majors 28-cylinder air-cooled radials, 3,800 hp each; and four General Electric J-47-GE-19 turbojets, 5,200 lb thrust each.
  • On 12 February 1959, the last B-36J built, Airforce Serial number 52-2827, left Biggs airforce base, Texas, where it had been on duty with the 95th Heavy Bombardment Wing. It was flown to Amon Carter Field in Fort Worth, where it was put on display.
    Within two years, all B-36s, except five used for museum display, had been scrapped at Davis-Monthan Airforce base.

  • Maximum speed: 411 mph at 36,400 ft.
  • Cruising speed: Over 225 mph.
  • Range: 6,800 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 39,900 ft.
Red Slash Hardrule
Click here for a link to a web site that features the B-36 and the flying thereof. It's called "U.S. Air Force B-36 Flying 1955-1957." A tip of the Old Kunnel's beanie to Jesse Cox for the tip off.
Red Slash Hardrule
 Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota 
"On 2 January 1942 the U.S. War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress crews. From September 1942--when its military runways first opened--until mission needs changed in July 1945, the field's instructors taught thousands of pilots, navigators, radio operators and gunners from nine heavy bombardment groups and numerous smaller units. All training focused on the Allied drive to overthrow the Axis powers in Europe.
"After World War II the base briefly trained weather reconnaissance and combat squadrons using P-61 Black Widow, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, and B-25 Mitchell aircraft. Those missions soon ended, however, and Rapid City Army Air Field temporarily shut down from September 1946 - March 1947. When operations resumed in 1947 the base was a new United States Air Force asset. The primary unit assigned to Rapid City Air Force Base was the new 28th Bombardment Wing (BMW) flying the B-29 Superfortress.
"The installation changed names a few more times during its early years. In January 1948, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Carl A. Spaatz renamed it Weaver Air Force Base in honor of Brig Gen Walter R. Weaver, one of the pioneers in the development of the Air Force. In June of that year, however, in response to overwhelming public appeals, Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington returned it to its previous name. The base was also declared a "permanent installation" in early 1948.
"Shortly after additional runway improvements, in July 1949, the 28 BMW began conversion from B-29s to the huge B-36 Peacemaker. In April 1950 the Air Staff reassigned the base from 15th Air Force to 8th Air Force.

Bovingdon airfield ,,,
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Next to Bovingdon is the disused former World War II, Eighth Air Force and post-war Royal Air Force airfield, RAF Bovingdon.
The airfield was built in 1942. Between 1943 and 1946 it became a B-17 operational training base for units such as 92nd Bomber Group, B-17 Flying Fortress Combat Crew Replacement Centre (CCRC), 11th CCRC, and 8th USAAF HQ Squadron. The RAF resumed control until 1951, then the USAF took over again until 1962 flying B-26 Marauders, B-29 Superfortresses, and B-50 Superfortresses. General Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal aircraft was said to be located here, as Bovingdon was the closest Eighth Air Force airfield to London.
Flying ceased in 1969, though some flying scenes for the film Hanover Street were shot there in 1978. The airfield served as airport for Hemel Hempstead during most of the postwar period.
Several films were made there including The War Lover, 633 Squadron, Hanover Street, an episode of the Persuaders,The Man With The Golden Gun (the flying car scene) and Mosquito Squadron.
The airfield site houses a VOR navigational beacon, code BNN. The airspace above the airfield and nearby Chesham is known as the Bovingdon stack and is a holding area for aircraft approaching Heathrow Airport, 20 miles to the south. At busy times on a clear day a dozen planes circle.
Part of the airfield was used to build The Mount Prison during the 1980s; it was located on the site of the aircraft hangars and administration blocks. The remainder of the site is used for a Saturday market and there is a permanent circuit for banger racing although there has not been any regular racing since 2008. The airfield is also a site for paintballing.
Of the three original runways, the North East/South West runway is still complete, and used for parking on market days.
The North West/South East runway is completely gone. The East/West runway is still complete, the Eastern end of which is used for the weekend Market, the Western end used to be used by the Farmers aircraft. The control tower still exists, but is in a very poor state. A lot of the taxiways, and the 2nd World War Bomb Dump trackways are mostly gone, a victim of hardcore reclamation, a common end of a large number of disused airfields in the UK.

The Ol'Kunnel tips his beanie to Patrick B of the UK for the heads-up on RAF Bovingdon and the 8th Eight Air Force.
20:14 4/9/2013
For More Information about the 8th Air Force ~Click Here~
"The base experienced one of its worst peacetime tragedies in March 1953 when an RB-36 and its entire crew of 23 crashed in Newfoundland while returning from a routine exercise in Europe. On 13 June 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a personal visit to dedicate the base in memory of Brig Gen Richard E. Ellsworth, commander of the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, who lost his life in that accident.
-- Excerpted from the History of Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
~ CLICK ~ here to visit the web site.
13:34 9/15/2003
"... following one of the base's most grievous tragedies, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a personal visit here to rededicate the installation as Ellsworth Air Force Base on 13 June 1953. The following narrative tells the story behind the naming of Ellsworth Air Force Base...
"Just after midnight on the morning of Wednesday, 18 March 1953, a giant RB-36H Peacemaker (tail number 51-13721) assigned to the 718th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, lifted off from Lajes Field in the Azores. Having flown sorties with a task force of 11 other RB-36s on five days of intercontinental combat training, crew H15 was ready to go home. After insuring that their aircraft was fit for flight, the crew* coaxed their collossal silver bird into the sky and onto its westward course for the United States and Rapid City Air Force Base. Although Capt Jacob H. Pruett was the aircraft commander for crew H15, Wing Commander Brig Gen Richard E. Ellsworth was the senior officer aboard. This was as much his 3.5 million dollar airplane as were the 22 fellow crew members it carried, his men...."
* Aircraft commander Brig Gen Richard E. Ellsworth, pilot Maj Frank C. Wright, (Chief of Wing Operational Planning), aircraft and crew H15 commander Capt Jacob H. Pruett, Jr., and pilot Capt Orien F. Clark, comprised the cockpit team.
07/10/12 at 18:53
Kunnel, Sir;
Travis AFB, Mar 1955-Dec 1957
Assigned to crew L21F, RB-36H, 31st Recon Bomb SQDN, 5th Recon Bomb Wing, 15th Air Force, AFSC 42351E Electrician Gunner.
Enjoyed reading about the people from 6th BW, Walker AFB. Brought back memories of 24-48hr flights. Lots of boredom, and some very scary moments in the big bird. Never regretted it for a moment.
Anyone still around from the 23rd, 31st, or 72nd Bomb Sqdn, can contact me by clicking EMAIL icon on my comments in the guest book.
Aircraft Locator For The Convair B-36 Peacemaker
Check for any reunion notices here!
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