B-58 Hustler: Convair's Cold War Mach 2 Bomber (Legends of Warfare)
The Convair B-58 Hustler, with its distinctive delta wing shape, would become the world's first supersonic bomber, and the first aircraft to fly to Mach 2. With development beginning in 1949, the B-58, which could not carry conventional weapons, would become part of the US nuclear arsenal during the height of the Cold War. Although these bombers were initially considered difficult to operate, in time the hand-chosen crews who flew them came to love and respect the aircraft. Throughout the 1960s, crews flying the B-58 set numerous speed and distance records. These planes were tremendously expensive to operate, and it was budget issues that forced the early retirement of the bomber.
The story of this historic aircraft is told through carefully researched photos, which are reproduced in remarkable clarity. Large, clear photos, coupled with descriptive and informative captions, unlock the secrets of this aircraft.
The USAF's first jet-powered bomber capable of reaching Mach 2.0, the Convair B-58 Hustler carried a crew of three and a nuclear payload. A complex aircraft, the B-58 suffered teething problems during development and became infamous for its maintenance requirements. It also compiled a dubious safety record: out of 116 Hustlers, 26 were lost in accidents. Nevertheless, the B-58's career spanned nearly a decade between 1960-70.
Originally printed by the U.S. Air Force, this flight operating manual taught pilots everything they needed to know before entering the cockpit. Classified "Restricted", the manual was recently declassified and is here reprinted in book form.
The history of the legendary Convair B-58 Hustler, one of the most interesting bombers to reach operational status, that had an appearance - even though designed in the 1940s - that would not look out of date in the 21st century.
The first USAF delta-wing bomber was the Mach 2 Hustler that had the performance of a fighter aircraft. However, its tenure was short due to technical problems and excessive costs. The majority of Hustlers met their demise in the late 1960s, but a few remain at museums across the country.
One of the most dramatic bombers of its day, the Convair B-58 came to epitomise the Cold War power of Strategic Air Command. Introduced only 12 years after the sound barrier was first broken, this iconic plane became the first large long-range supersonic bomber to take to the skies, a feat which had seemed far-fetched only a few years previously. Outstripping its contemporaries in terms of speed, and agile enough to escape most interceptors, the B-58 was a remarkable feat of engineering, setting 19 world speed records and collecting a host of trophies. The first operational bomber capable of Mach 2 at 63,000 feet, it was able to evade hostile fighters and represented a serious threat to targets across the Soviet Bloc.
Supported by contemporary first-hand accounts, photography, and full-colour illustrations, this study explores the history of this ground-breaking aircraft from its conception to its little-known testing for use in the Vietnam War.