I have been on Acepedia for a while, but only recently set up an account. I must say this site is run very well and has some great people on it. So, to test the waters for myslef, I decided to make this blog post.
I live in central Indiana, about 45 minuets south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Accordingly, my great passions is motor racing. My second passion is aircraft. I have always loved going to airshows and museums to see various aircraft. When ever I saw a good looking book, old or now, about aircraft I snapped it up and read it. Granted, I know a lot about aircraft, but not everything. I am always looking to learn something new. Now, to give a bit of trivia to balence out my ramblings about myself, I was reading an article online about an interesting bomber.
The Convair NB-36H Crusader:
The Convair B-36 Peasemaker was a great plane for its time, gave SAC its first intercontinetal bomber, is physically one of the largest aircraft ever built, and quick for an aircraft of its size and for a piston powered bomber (though latter models had its six piston engines allong with four jet engines). The B-36 was eventually phased out as post WWII designs came out, such as the B-47 and B-52. However, the B-36 proved to be a great test bed for many new ideas, one such program was the NB-36H.
The NB-36H was part of Convair project MX-1589, a project to make a nuclear reactor-powered bomber. This would have given the USAF unpresidented range to attack. Bomber could launch from bases in the US and attack the Soviet mainland without the need of ariel refuling, or stay aloft for weeks at a time. To test this idea, two B-36s were slated to be altered, covetered into the NB-36H and the X-6.
The NB-36H was the test bed for the X-6 nuclear powerd bomber. The NB-36H had a functioning reactor, but it did not power the plane. The plane was made to test the sheilding to protect the crew. The plane made 47 flights, most of the time with the reactor on. The X-6 would have been totally powered on nuclear enery, and would have paved the way for a production bomber based on the YB-60 (a swept-wing, all jet bomber based on the frame of the B-36)
However, with spiraling costs and the advent of ICBMs, the need for for such a bomber was next to zero. The X-6 was never built, and the YB-60 lost the competition between it and the B-52. So the reactor onboard destoryed, thus ending the United States's dabble in nuclear powered aircraft. On an interesting note, the USSR modified a Tu-95 into the Tu-119 nuclear powered bomber. Their tests had decidely deadlier results.
Thank you for reading, beacuse I don't know how to add photos into a blog yet, there will be a few pic links in a commet below.