Search Site
About MultiEducator
The Colonies
For Educators
World Timeline
Election Central
Primary Source Documents
20th Century Almanac
Aviation History
Navy History
Railroad History
America's Wars



History of Israel
Other Links
About Historycentral
Contact US


The History of Aviation

US Post War Aircraft


The delta-wing Convair Hustler was the first U. S. Air Force supersonic operational bomber. The B-58 made its initial flight on Nov. 11, 1956 and flew supersonically on Dec. 30, 1956.

Distinctive B-58 features included its sophisticated inertial guidance navigation and bombing system, slender "wasp-waist" fuselage, and extensive use of heat-resistant honeycomb sandwich skin panels in the wings and fuselage. The thin fuselage prevented internal carriage of bombs so an external droppable two-component pod beneath the fuselage contained extra fuel and a nuclear weapon, reconnaissance equipment or other specialized gear. The B-58 crew consisted of a pilot, navigator-bombardier and defense systems operator.

The Air Force ordered 86 Hustlers, which were operational in the Strategic Air Command between 1960 and 1970. B-58s set 19 world speed and altitude records and won five different aviation trophies. Despite its successes, the Hustler had limitations in range, payload and growth potential.

There were a total of 116 B-58s built: 30 test and pre-production aircraft and 86 for inventory.

The last B-58 was retired in January 1970, about three months after the first FB-111 was accepted by SAC. The aircraft was phased out of the inventory after only 10 years of service.

General Characteristics

Primary function: bomber

Span: 56 feet 10 inches

Length: 96 feet 10 inches

Height: 31 feet 5 inches

Weight: 163,000 pounds max.

Armament: One 20mm cannon in tail; nuclear weapons in pod or on under-wing pylons

Engines: Four General Electric J79s of 15,000 pounds thrust each with afterburner

Cost: $12,442,000

Maximum speed: 1,325 mph

Cruising speed: 610 mph

Range: 4,400 miles without aerial refueling

Service ceiling: 64,800 feet

2004 Multieducator, Inc. All rights reserved
Report Problems here.