North American XB-70 Valkyrie


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North American XB-70 Valkyrie

Developed to USAF General Operational Requirement 38 for an intercontinental bomber to replace the Boeing B-52, the Mach 3 North American XB-70A was the subject of an order for three prototypes, awarded on 4 October 1961, although the third was later cancelled. A delta-winged canard design, with wing tips which folded down at 65° to the horizontal to provide improved supersonic stability, and powered by six 13608kg thrust General Electric J93-GE-3 engines, the first prototype was flown by Alvin S. White and Colonel Joseph F. Cotton on 21 September 1964; it first achieved its design speed of Mach 3 on 14 October 1965. The improved second prototype flew on 17 July 1965, but was lost in a mid-air collision on 8 June 1966. The surviving aircraft carried out a number of test programmes, including work in connection with the US supersonic transport programme, but on 4 February 1969 it was flown to retirement at the US Air Force Museum, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.


© The Valkyrie's wingtips lowered to trap the shockwave under the fuselage and create 'compression lift', allowing operation at nearly 24,320m.

© Company brochures claimed a B-70 could take off from the western US and intercept Chinese invaders approaching Taiwan before they were halfway across. The Valkyrie was not an interceptor, nor had it any anti-shipping capability.

© The crew's seats became enclosed in individual escape capsules in an emergency. In the XB-70 crash, only one capsule functioned correctly.

© Most of the XB-70 was made of a new type of stainless steel. The different grades of metal used caused electrolytic corrosion.

North American XB-70 Valkyrie on YOUTUBE

North American XB-70 Valkyrie

 ENGINE6 x General Electric J93-GE-3, 13608kg
  Take-off weight249476 kg550003 lb
  Wingspan32.0 m105 ft 0 in
  Length59.75 m196 ft 0 in
  Height9.1 m30 ft 10 in
  Wing area565.0 m26081.60 sq ft
  Max. speed3218 km/h2000 mph
  Ceiling21336 m70000 ft
  Range w/max.fuel12000 km7457 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
Leggo, e-mail, 27.03.2023 15:52

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richard Clement, e-mail, 24.02.2020 04:43

The summer of 1959 I worked as a titanium research metallurgist in Dept.55. We wanted to know what shapes of aircraft parts could be formed using titanium 6 /4 and 6 / /32 sheets . lots of heat treating and metal forming. One day we got to go see the mockup of the B-70. I had hoped to fly her one day. I joined the Air force and ended up flying WB /KB_50 aircraft and various versions of the Conair T-29 /C-131.
Clem Clement.
Colonel, USAF (RETD)


steve jahn, e-mail, 03.06.2016 05:29

Does anyone have any photos of the bomb bay with out the test equipment installed?


John Welsh, e-mail, 03.03.2016 18:47

I was a young boy of ten years old when I stood on along the runway when the XB-70 made its first flight. I will never forget the loud roar of the jet engines. I received an air mail that was on-board the Mach 3 flight. I also have some beautifully preserved photos from when 20001 was first rolled out.


Frank C. Rivas, e-mail, 28.05.2015 03:31

Ground crew NB-58 662 Chase to XB-70 My father was the the Logistics Specialists for SAMMA We were personal friends of the Cottons we came west with them in 1962 from Carswell AFB Fort Worth B-58 test program My Crew Chief on the NB-58 was John Goleno which was also the Crew Chief on 747 Shuttle Carrier


Huston, e-mail, 15.02.2015 11:01

I was a tech with S&ID of NAA and located on the south-end of lake bed (Edwards) with the NASA Gemini Paraglider project on June 8, 1966 when news of the crash was received on our radio. It was a big shock when we heard that news! We quit for the day and headed back to the hanger. We had our tow vehicles located in the west hanger and both of the B70s were located in the east hanger. NAA was very active in the area as Rocketdyne F1 engine tests were conducted at the Rocket Engine test area across the dry lake bed southeast of the hangers. Hanger dust would be kicked up whenever an F1 rocket engine test was conducted with dust falling from the hanger ceiling on the B70s. Well that was a day I will never forget!


Klaatu83, e-mail, 19.07.2014 16:56

The B-70 was a spectacular and impressive airplane. However, it's biggest problems were it's monetary cost and the fact that the aircraft was already considered to be obsolete.

The development program cost $1.5 billion, and unit cost of the production bombers were expected to have $750 million apiece. That doesn't sound like much today, but in the early 1960s it was considered enormous.

As for the B-70's obsolescence, the shooting down of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 Spyplane from an altitude of 70,000 feet over the Soviet Union by a SAM missile in 1960 signaled that high altitude no longer rendered aircraft invulnerable to retaliation. In other words, it was already clear to U.S. Air Force planners that the B-70 was vulnerable before the prototype ever even flew.


George Haloulakos, CFA, e-mail, 26.06.2014 22:20

The crash of the XB70 Valkyrie in mid-1966, followed seven months later by the Apollo 1 fire in early 1967, were two of the saddest events I recall from that era. The significance of the XB70 Valkyrie and the Apollo 1 astronauts [Grissom, White and Chaffee] are covered in my book. Never forget!
Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance,
Strategy and American Exceptionalism
By George A. Haloulakos, MBA, CFA
ISBN: 9780-1007-2738-0
Order your copy online at:
Or by phone: 858-534-4557
"Partial proceeds support aviation heritage"


deaftom, e-mail, 04.02.2014 06:48

The XB-70 can be viewed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, but it takes a little planning. Until the Museum can put up another building, the XB-70 (and the other X-planes) are in storage in a non-public area of Wright-Patterson, but can be viewed as part of an escorted group on Saturdays and Sundays. Get to the special tour counter inside the Museum (past the museum shop and then left) just after the place opens, and get your name on the list before it fills up (reservations can only be made for the same day). Show up back at the counter at the appointed time, board a bus, and you'll be take round to the hangars where the X-planes (and Presidential plane collection) are held for now. You'll have a (rather scanty) 45 minutes or so to take them all in before being bussed back to the Museum. I did this last September.


F.J. CLARK, e-mail, 20.11.2013 20:44

I was close to the AF Museum this year, and went past just to see the B70. I was disappointed to be told it was in storage and couldn't be viewed. They said it was a budget reason, which was 'baloney' to me. I was very disappointed. GET IT OUT. (I am a retired 39 yr AAL Engineer and agree with comments above that this is the best)


Paul Scott, e-mail, 08.04.2013 18:58

One of the most impressive aircraft ever built. Imagine seeing this fly, never mind Concorde!


Terry Miller, e-mail, 29.12.2012 01:53

I remember reading about the B-70 in grade school. My school had a book in our library about the plane, and I must have checked that book out about 10 times.

Seeing the plane in person decades later brought all the memories back about my all-time favorite aircraft. I must have walked around her for almost an hour. If only she could talk! The stories would be absolutely amazing!


Richard Kurtz, e-mail, 23.08.2012 17:42

I have a great desktop model of the XB70, found it on they have all kinds of planes. check it out. I get alot of nice comments from people that have seen my XB70.


Rik Kurtz, e-mail, 23.08.2012 11:19

I was stationed at Edwards '67-'69. I worked in a building right across from the M&M hanger. the B70 was usally parked on the tarmack by the M&M. I was lucky enough to see it fly a couple times and saw it leave for Wright-Patterson, It was a sunny morning and when it took off it was loud. we all watched it leave , it was like an end of an era. But things there changed all the time. we still had the SR71 out back of our office and the C5A was coming soon. it was a great place to be.When I was outta the Air Force I moved back to Columbus, Ohio. A friend and I went to the Air Force museum in Dayton and saw the B70 and the SR71, both on the main floor. I was happy to see they were inside, not sitting out in the weather. Kida scary when you see things in a museum that just a few years before were very alive and flying. If you get the chance go see them, they're engineering works of art.


Kevin Morrow, e-mail, 29.05.2012 16:57

Almsot like the TSR.1.


Rui Abreu, e-mail, 09.08.2011 10:02

Nothing, absolutely nothing will ever get closer to this aircraft


James Williams S/sgt ret., e-mail, 07.05.2011 18:31

I was in SAC at wright pat on the last landing of course I watched the removeal of fins and supper told me you didn't see that as they boxed the parts we all called it the 6 pack bird


James Williams S/sgt ret., e-mail, 07.05.2011 18:29

I was in SAC at wright pat on the last landing of course I watched the removeal of fins and supper told me you didn't see that as they boxed the parts we all called it the 6 pack bird


Rene Riquelme, e-mail, 16.02.2011 20:59

One of my favorites planes of all time,it's design is a thing of beauty.


Dan Mills, e-mail, 09.02.2011 01:49

My step-father worked on the XB-70. He was 6'4" and he also said he could stand inside the intakes, stretch out his arms and not touch the sides. It's a beautiful aircraft.


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