Friday, August 08, 2008

Today In History: The Aluminum Overcast.

August 8th, 1946, was the date of the first test flight by Convair's B-36 "Peacemaker", the first intercontinental strategic bomber, and the largest operational bomber ever.

Final operational variants had six massive piston engines and four turbojets ("Six turnin' and four burnin',") and were the "mothership" aircraft in the fascinating FICON program.

For a good, up-close (if Hollywood-ized) look at the planes, check out Strategic Air Command, in which they co-starred alongside Jimmy Stewart.


José Giganté said...

I remember seeing one of these as a kid over at the Dayton Air Museum, it dominated the indoor collection, so huge in fact, you don't notice it really, it's like part of the building.

That and the XB70. Those planes make the museum trip.

If you haven't gone to Dayton, well, what's wrong with ya?

tom-the-impaler said...

I was gonna mention seeing the one at the Air Force Museum in Dayton as well. Of course I REALLY loved the WWI airplanes on display and the SR-71 Blackbird. I Second jose's motion to get there if and when you can.

Billy Beck said...

The original "aluminum overcast".

I think Walt Soplata still has a lot of one in his yard.

Tam said...

Okay, anybody with a frcking B-36 in their backyard is an automatic frontrunner in the "Coolest Dude On The Planet" contest...

Lergnom said...

If you're ever near Dulles, check out the Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy center. Link at

An SR-71, a space shuttle, a Concorde,
the Enola Gay, and a whole wing just devoted to Cold War aircraft, theirs and ours.
They even have a replica of Frank Whittle's early jet engine.

Worth the ride.

Anonymous said...

I remember running outside as a kid to watch it fly over our house at about 500' as it was landing at Lindberg field in San Diego.
It blanked out the sun for a long time, [it seemed].
Big damn plane! I read that the crew could walk out into the wings for maintenance.