September 19, 2017

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The US Air Force at 70: From early jets to stealth aircraft – CNET

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This was one of the more intimidating aircraft of the 1950s, the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. Throughout that decade, it was the Strategic Air Command’s primary delivery system for nuclear weapons, and it was said to have the range to reach any target and return without refueling. It was huge, too — 163 feet long, with a 230-foot wingspan and a bomb bay the size of four railroad freight cars.

The distinctive look came from the B-36’s rear-facing pusher propellers (an echo of the very earliest planes from the likes of the Wright Brothers). Beginning with the D model, this brute added a pair of jet engines toward the outer reaches of the wings, to provide bursts of speed. After this point, all new designs for strategic bombers would be just jet-powered.

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