Made by Consolidated Vultee to promote the B-36 Peacemaker strategic bomber, this rare Cold War film is dedicated to the 8th and 15th Air Forces of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). As the narrator says, the mission of the aircraft was to serve as a strategic deterrent against the threat of a nuclear sneak attack: "When reason fails, strength prevails. If potential aggressors know that any armed attack will result in immediate retaliation, there may be no attack. Today the target is peace.."
The film begins with a montage of America, with a narrator talking in great patriotic tones about "the America we know and love, an America of a people at peace, protected by an Air Force in control of the skies." The B-36 Peacemaker, built at Fort Worth, Texas, is then shown in some detail. The film shows the factory at 2:28 with its 2-mile-long assembly line. Top management at Vultee is seen at 2:30, and USAF Strategic Command brass are seen at the factory as well. At 3:40 some of the assembly line for this enormous aircraft are shown. At 4:50, it is shown that the Wright Bros. first flight isn't even 1/2 of the wingspan of the B-36.
At 5:14, the film references the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in justifying having an intercontinental bomber in the USA arsenal. The development of the B-36, an "ultra-long range" aircraft, was in response to this need. At 5:50, the aircraft is seen being towed out of the assembly line. At 6:10, Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth is shown, near the Vultee Plant, and HQ of the 7th and 11th Bomb Groups. Maj. General Ramey of the USAF is shown at 6:30 discussing long-range strategic bombing plans.At 7:00, the B-36s are shown in a state of readiness in case there is a scramble. At 7:20 a crew departs on a training mission. (The rear entrance of the aircraft is an astonishing 50 yards away from the front crew entrance!)
At 9:09, the tube separating the front and rear areas of the bomber is shown -- or the "subway" as it is known. Bunks for the crew are shown as well. At 9:30 the B-36s are shown operating in formation. At 10:50, resources planning is shown trying to figure out how to build more B-36s in a short time period to help ensure that the USA will have a viable nuclear deterrent against the Soviets. At 11:30, a new type of B-36 (B-36D) is shown equipped with two jet engines which can supplement the existing propeller engines. A transport version of the gigantic plane is also shown.
The Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" was a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959. The B-36 is the largest mass-produced piston-engined aircraft ever built. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built, at 230 ft (70.1 m). The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering any of the nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal from inside its four bomb bays without aircraft modifications. With a range of 10,000 mi (16,000 km) and a maximum payload of 87,200 lb (39,600 kg), the B-36 was capable of intercontinental flight without refueling.
The genesis of the B-36 can be traced to early 1941, prior to the entry of the United States into World War II. At the time it appeared there was a very real chance that Britain might fall to the German "Blitz", making a strategic bombing effort by the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) against Germany impossible with the aircraft of the time.
Beginning with the B-36D, Convair added a pair of General Electric J47-19 jet engines suspended near the end of each wing; these were also retrofitted to all extant B-36Bs. Consequently, the B-36 was configured to have ten engines, six radial propeller engines and four jet engines, leading to the B-36 slogan of "six turnin' and four burnin' ". The B-36 had more engines than any other mass-produced aircraft. The jet pods greatly improved takeoff performance and dash speed over the target. In normal cruising flight, the jet engines were shut down to conserve fuel. When the jet engines were shut down, louvers closed off the front of the pods to reduce drag and to prevent ingestion of sand and dirt. The jet engine louvers were opened and closed by the flight crew in the cockpit, whether the B-36 was on the ground or in the air. The two pods with four turbojets and the six piston engines combined gave the B-36 a total of 40,000 hp (30,000 kW) for short periods of time
Entering service in 1948, the B-36 was the primary nuclear weapons delivery vehicle of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was replaced by the jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress beginning in 1955. All but five examples were scrapped.
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