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B-36 Schematic


The NB-36H carried a nuclear reactor for radiation shield testing.

Wright Air Development Center Digital Collection
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Aircraft - B-36 (U.S.A.)

B-36 on the Ground
B-36 on the Ground

The B-36 was a much larger than the B-29 (which dropped the atomic bomb on Japan).  The first B-36A's were delivered in 1948.  They were used exclusively for training.  B-36B's were not fully operational until 1952.  It could carry a variety of ordinance including nuclear weapons, and the "Peacemaker" was a major player in the Cold War.  The Air Force accepted a total of 383 B-36s, including prototypes, service test aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft, but not including the two B-36Gs delivered as YB-60

The WADC helped make many modifications to the aircraft to serve different purposes, and research conducted on the B-36 helped the WADC in the development of the B-52, which replaced the B-36 throughout the mid to late 1950's.

The NB-36H carried a nuclear reactor that was used by the WADC to do radiation shield testing.  The reactor did not power the aircraft.

.B-36 Compared with the B-29
B-36 Compared with a B-29.

Specifications of the B-36B (General Production Model)

Type - Six-engined Heavy Bomber

Wings - Shoulder-wing cantilever monoplane.  NACA laminar-flow wing section.  Aspect ratio 11.  Wing mounted slightly forward of mid point of fuselage.  All-metal structure with stressed skin.  Gross wing area 4,772 sq. ft. (443.3 m.2).  Statically-balanced ailerons with controllable trim-tabs.  Electrically-operated trailing-edge flaps in three sections on each side of fuselage.  Total flap area 519 sq. ft. (48.2 m.2).  Heated surface anti-icing.

Fuselage - Circular section all-metal structure.

Tail Unit - Cantilever monoplane type.  All-metal structure.  Tailplane span 73 ft. 5 in.  (22.38 m.).  Total horizontal area 978 sq. ft. (90.85 m.2).  Total vertical area 542 sq. ft. (50.34 m.2).  Thermal anti-icing in leading-edges of tailplane and fin.

Landing Gear - Retractable tricycle type.  Main gear consists fo two four-wheel bogies on single shock absorber struts, each unit retracting inwards into wing.  Twin nose wheel gear raised forward into fuselage.  Hydraulic retraction.  Wheel track 46 ft. (14 m.), wheel base 95 ft. (18.0 m).

Power Plant - Six 3,500 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-4360 twenty-eight cylinder radial air-cooled engines mounted as pushers aft of rear spars and driving Curtiss Electric three-blade constant-speed full-feathering and reversing propellers with hollow steel blades and thermal anti-icing.  Propeller diameter 19 ft. (5.79 m).  Each engine fitted with two turbo superchargers.  Inlets for induction and cooling air in and below leading-edge of wings.  Wing fuel tanks with total capacity for 21,116 U.S. gallons.  Oil capacity 1,200 U.S. gallons.

Accommodation - Crew of fifteen, including 4-man relief crew.  Pressurised crew compartments forward and aft of bomb-bay with pressurised intercommunication tunnel 85 ft. (25.9 m. ) long and 25 in. (0.63 m.) in diameter on left side of fuselage and below wings.  Four-wheel truck for passage through tunnel.  Thermal anti-icing and de-frosting for pilot's and bombardier's compartments and for gun-sighting blisters in rear crew compartment.  Total pressurised fuselage volume 3,924 cub. ft (111 m.3

Armament and Equipment - Six retractable remotely-controlled turrets, each mounting twin 20 mm. cannon, plus two 20 mm. cannon on flexible mounting in nose and two in radar-controlled tail turret.  Four-section bomb-bay with total volume of 12,300 cub. ft. (348 m.3) Designed bomb load for 10,000 mile range, 10,000 lb. Maximum bomb load 84,000 lb.

Dimensions - 230 ft. (70.14 m.).  Length 162 ft. (49.4 m.).  Height 45 ft. 9 in. (14.26 m.).

Weight- Designed gross weight 278,000 lb.

Performance - Maximum speed over 350 m.p.h. Stalling speed 95 m.p.h Service ceiling over 40,000 ft. Max. designed range 10,000 minles.  Take-off to 50 ft. 1,666 yards. 

Source for Specifications: Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1950-1951

NB-36H with Nuclear Reactor
NB-36H Carried a Small Nuclear Reactor on Board for Radiation Shield Testing

B-36 Peacemaker In Flight
B-36 in flight.

B-36 Peacemaker In Flight
B-36 in flight.

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