Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stratojet Tube

I have been doing alot of reading about the B-47. The Bomber that the US built in greater numbers than any other after World War II. It had 6 J-47 engines. It was a very aerodynamic bomber and had difficulties slowing down. The wings flexed (up to 14 feet in flight).

If the aircraft was flying too fast and the pilot applied ailerons, the flexible wings could cause what was known as aileron reversal. This was because the flexible wing was acted upon by the aileron, but the speed was such that it twisted the wing causing the aircraft to flip in the opposite direction of aileron application.

Because of the great number of aircraft, there is a similar profusion of written personal accounts. I like this. I have a few books on this subject. One of my favorites is a collection of personal accounts called: Boeing B-47 Stratojet: True Stories of the Cold War in the Air, edited by Mark Natola. I have already related one of the stories in a previous blog.

Here is another quicky: A B-47 pilot and his crew were checking out a new B-47, when he saw a B-36. The Navigator was busy readying test the Bomb/Nav equipment. While they waited, the pilot let the B-36 go by, then followed. Due to the enormous bomber's slow speed and the B-47's relative sportiness, it did not take much to overtake the lumbering behemoth. The Pilot decided to play games. Finally, after messing around for several minutes with the B-36, he added "insult to injury, [he] dropped the forward gear and pulled away from him." Then he made a pursuit curve on the B-36, like a fighter would. It was then that the B-36 deployed his 8 turrets with 2 20mm cannon in each which began tracking him. He egressed the area in extreme haste. (I know, if you read my blog, I have found a joke with a similar setting and subject, and I have heard another version of this story somewhere along the line. Is it true or a Cold War Urban Myth?) The pilot and writer of this piece was Lt. Coonel Hank Cervantes, USAF, (ret.)

I found a You Tube of the B-47. In this clip you will see what appears to be views of a MITO (Minimum Interval Take Off), possibly during an ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection) at what I assume is McConnell AFB. I think some of it is from the Jimmy Stewart movie, Strategic Air Command. Note there are a few points in which the B-47 is completing a roll. That is evidence of the plane's agility. That also explains why it could perform the LABS maneuver. LABS stands for Low Altitude Bombing System, which sounds innocuous, but it included a low-altitude, high-speed run toward the target. The plane then quickly pulled up and began a loop. Near the vertical the bomb was released (tossed) and the plane followed through with the loop and finished headed in the opposite direction at maximum speed. The bomb could continue on for more than 20 miles. The clip shows you that this large aircraft was fairly adroit and nimble.

I recommend turning your volume down, since I did not choose the music.

Note: The Boeing factory resides here in good old Washington State. The XB-47 was tested at Moses Lake Army Airfield, later Larson AFB. There were jut over 2000 B-47s built in many different models. If you are inclined, I recommend learning a little more about them, comment and tell me you want a reading list and I will give you some titles to peruse. When you do read about the B-47, you will learn about the brave men who flew and maintained them.
OH, YEAH, this is the 63rd anniversary of the Official Surrender of the Japanese to Allied forces.

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