Convair B-58 Hustler
YOU TUBE - Convair B-58 Hustler
4x 15,600 lbs. ea.
96 ft. 10 in.
56 ft. 10 in.
1- 20 mm
Convair B-58 Hustler
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The Convair B-58 Hustler was designed as a supersonic replacement for U.S. Air Force aging bombers. Its
first flight was on Nov. 11, 1958. It went supersonic for the first
time on Dec. 30, 1958. It was deployed with the Strategic Air
Command in 1960 to become the world's first operational supersonic bomber.
Great technological advances had to be made for the Convair design team to meet the exacting requirements to
produce a supersonic bomber aircraft. It had to fly at twice the
speed of sound, at high altitudes, and be able to deliver nuclear
weapons accurately to their targets. The aircraft was designed to be
as small as possible to have a minimal radar signature.
For the first time the U.S. Air Force saw a bomber as an entire weapons system. It was the job of
Convair to bring it all together. This new approach to weapons
procurement meant that numerous new procedures needed to be
initiated. It lead to development delays.
Convair B-58 Hustler technical features included double redundant flight
system hydraulics, titanium fasteners, movable cones fitted to engine
intakes, advanced avionics including radar targeting, navigation, and
electronics counter measures. It was the first aircraft to have light
weight, heat-resistant stainless steel honeycomb sandwich skin panels
in its wings and fuselage. It was the first bomber designed to have
a weapons pod that would be jettisoned after use, and the first
supersonic aircraft with engine pods mounted outboard on a thin delta
wings which were swept rearward at a sixty degree angle.
The Convair B-58 Hustler crew of three consisted of a pilot, navigator, and defensive systems operator.
Seating was in tandem. Because ejection seats of the time would not
protect those ejecting at supersonic speeds, each crew member had a
separate ejection pod. The pods were capable of use at supersonic
speeds at altitudes up to 70,000 feet.
It was possible for each crew member to activate airtight bulkheads withing the cockpit. Each crew member
area was individually pressurized and had its own oxygen system.
Crew members could choose to eject separately, or stay with the
aircraft while being protected in the pod until aircraft control was
regained at a safer speed and altitude.
The pilot's pod held all the necessary equipment to control the aircraft. After ejection, the pods would be
lowered by parachute all the way to the ground. The pods contained
shock absorbers to help cushion landings. The pods also could float
in the event of a water landing with flotation bags deployed.
The Convair B-58 Hustler was at the leading edge of technology for its
time. Because of this, the flight crew had to devote their full
attention to aircraft systems. Particular attention had to be paid to
flight trim as fuel was consumed. Flight protocols during take off
and landings had to be followed rigidly or an aircraft could be lost.
A centerline weapons pod was fitted to the Convair B-58 Hustler. Its narrow fuselage could not accomodate a
bomb bay. Included in the weapons pod, in addition to bombs, was a
fuel tank. Provisions were also available to carry a surface to air missle, or reconnaissance
equipment. Long landing gear struts were necessary to raise the
aircraft sufficiently from the ground to provide for weapons pod
clearance. For short range missions, the weapons pod could be
removed, and up to four bombs could be carried beneath the wings.
This had a great effect on overall aircraft performance. Without a load, the
aircraft had superior speed, an excellent climb rate, and good
maneuverability. Hanging fuel and weapons below the fuselage and
wings took away these advantages.
Although the Convair B-58 Hustler had a slightly longer range than its predecessor, it required in-flight
refueling to reach targets inside the Soviet Union, unless it was
stationed at a forward air base and the target was within its range.
The Convair B-58 Hustler set a number of speed records, flying for up to twenty hours at a time with
in-flight refueling. The purpose of the record setting missions were
two fold. In addition to highlighting its high speed performance,
they were meant to show the Soviet Union that none of its strategic
basis were out of the aircraft's range.
The Soviets countered the threat by building high flying, accurate, ground to air missiles. That
necessitated the B-58 having to fly at low levels, beneith Soviet
radar, resulting in increased fuel consumption and shorter range.
A total of 86 Convair B-58 Hustler aircraft were deployed with the Strategic Air Command from 1960 to
1970. Some 116 Convair B-58 Hustler aircraft were produced in all,
including 30 prototype and test pre-production aircraft. Of
the bombers produced, 26 were lost and thirty six crew members lost their lives.
Convair B-58 Hustler
Pictured above and immediately below is the beautiful Convair B-58 Hustler scratch built by Lynn McCauley and Butch Sickels. It is 1/9 scale and has a wingspan of 78", with a 127" length. Four O.S. ducted fans are used for power. All up weight for the B-58 Hustler is about 46 lbs. and total static engine thrust is 28 lbs.