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1950 Aircraft: "Air Force Review" 1950 United States Air Force F-86, F-84, F-85, B-36, YB-49...


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Air show type review of 1950 USAF aircraft including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, P-80 Shooting Star, F-86 Sabre, F-84 Thunderjet, F-89, F-85 Parasite Fighter, B-29 Superfortress, B-36 Peacemaker, B-45, B-47 Stratojet, YB-49, B-17 drones, XH-16 helicopter, XH-10, and more.

Public domain film slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

The Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" was a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959. The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (230 ft, 70.1 m), although there have been larger military transports. The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering any of the nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal from inside its two bomb bays without aircraft modifications. With a range greater than 9,700 km (6,000 mi) and a maximum payload of 33,000 kg (73,000 lb), the B-36 was the world's first manned bomber with an unrefueled intercontinental range...

Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, in discussions with high-ranking officers of the AAF, decided to waive normal army procurement procedures, and on 23 July 1943 ordered 100 B-36s before the completion and testing of the two prototypes.[8] The first delivery was due in August 1945, and the last in October 1946, but Consolidated (now renamed Convair) delayed delivery. The aircraft was unveiled on 20 August 1945, and flew for the first time on 8 August 1946.

After the establishment of an independent U.S. Air Force in 1947 and the Cold War began in earnest with the 1948 Berlin Airlift and the 1949 atmospheric test of the first Soviet atomic bomb, American military planners sought bombers capable of delivering the very large and heavy first-generation atomic bombs. The B-36 was the only American aircraft with the range and payload to carry such bombs from airfields on American soil to targets in the USSR (storing nuclear weapons in foreign countries was, and remains, diplomatically sensitive and risky). The modification to allow the use of larger atomic weapons on the B-36 was called the "Grand Slam Installation."

The B-36 was arguably obsolete from the outset, being piston-powered, particularly in a world of supersonic jet interceptors. But its jet rival, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet, which did not become fully operational until 1953, lacked the range to attack the Soviet homeland from North America without aerial refueling and could not carry the huge first-generation Mark 16 hydrogen bomb. Nor could the other American piston bombers of the day, the B-29 or B-50. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) did not become effective deterrents until the 1960s. Until the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress became operational in 1955, the B-36, as the only truly intercontinental bomber, continued to be the primary nuclear weapons delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command (SAC).

Convair touted the B-36 as the "aluminum overcast", a so-called "long rifle" giving SAC truly global reach. While General Curtis LeMay headed SAC (1949--57), he turned the B-36 arm, through intense training and development, into an effective nuclear delivery force, forming the heart of the Strategic Air Command. Its maximum payload was more than four times that of the B-29, even exceeding that of the B-52. The B-36 was slow and could not refuel in midair, but could fly missions to targets 3,400 mi (5,500 km) away and stay aloft as long as 40 hours. Moreover, the B-36 was believed to have "an ace up its sleeve": a phenomenal cruising altitude for a piston-driven aircraft, made possible by its huge wing area and six 28-cylinder engines, putting it out of range of all piston fighters, early jet interceptors, and ground batteries...

The scrapping of B-36s began in February 1956. Once replaced by B-52s, they were flown directly from operational squadrons to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where the Mar-Pak Corporation handled their reclamation and destruction... By December 1958, only 22 B-36s (all of them B-36Js) were still operational.

On 12 February 1959, the last B-36J (and the final J built by Convair, AF Ser. No. 52-2827) left Biggs AFB, Texas, where it had been on duty with the 95th Heavy Bombardment Wing, and was flown to Amon Carter Field in Fort Worth, where it was put on display. Within two years, all but five B-36s (which had been saved for museum display) had been scrapped at Davis-Monthan AFB...

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