Aircraft - B-36 (U.S.A.)
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 a B-29.
Specifications of the B-36B (General Production
Type - Six-engined
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
trailing-edge flaps in three sections on each
side of fuselage. Total flap area 519 sq.
ft. (48.2 m.2). Heated surface
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
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.).
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.
Source for Specifications: Jane's All the
World's Aircraft 1950-1951
NB-36H Carried a Small Nuclear Reactor on Board
for Radiation Shield Testing
B-36 in flight.
B-36 in flight.