North American XB-70 Valkyrie
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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!
HIGH FLIGHT
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: ucsandiegobookstore.com
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 Warplanes.com. 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 etc.one 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 etc.one 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.


Greg Newkold, e-mail, 24.01.2011 23:34

As a elementary school kid I watched the planes land at Wright Patterson. Awesome having planes land with parachutes. I have a picture of my self as a child standing next to the plane while it was still outside. I now work on the 787.


Douglas Hayman, e-mail, 19.01.2011 09:45

I worked in planning on the XB-70, one of the things that always amazed me on the mock-up at LA facility was a man could stand up in the air intakes. The fuselage & wings were made of 15-7 MO brazed honeycomb panels. When I later transferred to engineering, I took over drafting board that had layout drawing for a zero launch platform for the XB-70, didn't look real practical, but was very detailed.


Gerry Keffer, e-mail, 07.01.2011 02:02

I remember seeing it on the news and like I said, it sure looked like the other aircraft hit the XB-70. Why elso would it suddenly 'burst into flames?'


Gerry Keffer, e-mail, 07.01.2011 01:58

My bad guys. It was the space shuttle I saw at Edwards. I saw the XB-70 at Wright-Pat AFB, OH.


Gerry Keffer, e-mail, 07.01.2011 01:56

This aircraft was by far the most elegant looking, graceful and lethal weapon in the arsenal. I never understood why it was discontinued. As I remember it it was one of the chase planes that collided with the XB-70 causing the crash and not the other way around. The last one I ever saw was on display at an Edwards AFB air show. It was breath taking to see it and to be able to walk around it...


george kamburoff, e-mail, 30.11.2010 02:24

I was a young radio tech at Edwards on June 8, 1966. I had talked Russ Henderson into letting me go along with him to participate in the launch of an X-15. To a young nerd like me, It was a great treat to be a part of it, and I could hardly believe I was really there.


They used to park the XB-70's right outside my door of the huge M&M Hangar, right before they flew them, and those birds always took by breath away. They looked different from different angles, and were a stunning aircraft. That morning, I had failed to notice that it was no longer parked outside the hangar.

After we finished checking and certifying the communications on the Mothership, I was driving us back to the radio shop, the sun just coming up across the lakebed, when somebody pulled up beside me. It was a taxiing NASA F-104N, and the pilot was waving. Russ and I waved back, and he taxied ahead of us, then turned around and took off. It was Joe Walker, and he never came back. Nor did the XB-70.

Even for a place where crashes were frequent, this one hurt. A few days later, after midnight, I came upon several large stakebed trucks parked in a dark area outside the M&M Hanger. They were gone by morning. A day or so later, I was alone in the shop, when an E-3 in office attire (1505's), came in pushing a small cart covered with heavy sheets. It was a collection of charred, flattened, remains of cockpit instruments. I identified the ARC-66 control box of an F-104, and was told that it was from Joe's aircraft.

It was a long time before our other bird came out, but I stood out as close to the runway as I could get, and watched it take off weighting 535,000 pounds, thunder slowly into the sky with all six engines in afterburner, then come back around for a very low pass over us, while the technicians looked it over, checking for panels and leaks, then, it turned and left us, to soar at Mach Three, in a large arc of several Western states.

One day in mid 1966, I looked up and saw an XB-70 with a Blackbird on its right wingtip. The base historical office says they have no photographic record of it.

They were my very favorite birds.


Ryan Cross, e-mail, 19.11.2010 07:47

The XB-70 is an amazing piece of work! What was the estimated cost to build the first prototype?


Bob Foster, e-mail, 18.11.2010 22:45

Watched from the Patterson flight line, the surviver land on it's final flight. The J93's put out a huge black smoke cloud but damn the aircraft was beautiful in flight!


Phil Jensen, e-mail, 16.11.2010 17:39

After the XB-70 was retired, Col. Joe Cotton joined United Airlines as an engineering test pilot. In 1971 I found myself, a youngster, paired with him in B-747 transition training. During the long evenings, and after many hours in the cockpit, he shared stories of his career, getting shot down over Greece, receiving a direct presidential commission in the new U. S. Air Force from Harry Truman, testing and developing the B-58 Hustler, flying the B-52 mother ship for the X-15, and ultimately running the development program for the XB-70 with Alvin White. He talked of such things as ‘unstarts’; losing a portion of the honeycomb wing at supersonic speed; and of saving the billion dollar aircraft when the nose gear became jammed against a door out of sequence: they fashioned a jumper wire from a flight plan clipboard, and Col. Cotton wiggled back into the electronics bay and shorted the brain box letting the nose gear free fall(!); then the story of the tragic mid-air collision that destroyed ship number two. In 37 years as an airline pilot, it remains the most fascinating time I can remember.


Monty Barrett, e-mail, 25.10.2010 01:19

Only the Convair B-58 comes close for aesthetics. B-58, also a beautiful airplane. I have seen both in flight, unforgetable.


Mike, e-mail, 07.10.2010 00:18

A beauty in it's own right... and a shame to have been abandoned. Another victim, much like the F-108 Rapier interceptor concept, of pressure on Adm. Curtis Leymay from bean-counters to choose either planes or missiles. The figuring: If we have missiles capable of getting there in just minutes... What do we need a HST-plane for?

Further irony is that it was intended as a replacement for the B-52, which at last report is said to see service until approximately 2050... Due to continuous updates of it's engines.


Oneshot, e-mail, 29.04.2010 03:44

I have one of the air mail that was onbord when it went Mach 3 my father was on the program at Edwards AFB.


vassilios sitaras, e-mail, 15.02.2010 01:39

I have written 2 articles about the XB-70 for the leading aviation magazines in Greece, one in 1994 and one in 1998. It is, beyond doubt, the greatest aviation achievement so far, a combination of size, weight, thrust, speed, ceiling and range which is still a class of its own. The USAF Museum should place it ASAP in their impresive Cold War hangar and not hidden back in the ...Annex, where just a very few people are able to go every day. It's a shame!


John Martz, e-mail, 04.02.2010 21:26

The wing tips folded down to trap the supersonic lift by the nose shock. that is why the long distance from the tip of the nose to the wings


Bill Fisher, e-mail, 13.01.2010 22:11

Has to be one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed or built. I worked for G.E. and was told that the crash occured when they were taking promotional photos of the plane. That's a shame it wasn't continued.


Bill Hofbauer, e-mail, 11.01.2010 23:38

I worked on the catll tests of the F-4E
We shared a hangar with the XB-70
One day I was invited to go down to the end of the runway
and witness the take-off of the Valkyrie right over our heads.
Unforgettable!!!!


julius c jacobson, e-mail, 16.12.2009 00:11

Because of "on the cheap politics and economics" the structural bureaucrats in the senate, congress, and the D O D have set us up for the greatest fall of any superpower to historicaly yet to undergo. There was absolutely no reason why this type of supersonic bomber should have not been part of our triad attack respones S A C inventory. This plane could have been usefull in many ways. They just were too blind to see its practical attack posture! Our great nation is falling like Rome fell!


Shawn P Boike, e-mail, 11.12.2009 21:45

Terrific lessons learned at a time, the US could develop faster & better than we do today. The variable wings & structure was way ahead of its time. Too bad this sits in the past like our NASP.


paul scott, e-mail, 14.08.2009 00:35

Perhaps the most impressive aircraft ever built. Shame it didn't go further, like so many.


Neal Masterson, e-mail, 28.01.2009 22:24

Just correcting the spelling of my name and email address.


Neal Masterswon, e-mail, 28.01.2009 22:22

The collision was with an F-104N during a demonstration flight that also had a T-38, an F-4B and an F-5a in the formation. The XB-70 flipped over, recovered and then went intoa flat spiral and never recovered. The F-104N immediately burst into flames and then disintegrated.


Doug Sheldon, former USAF, e-mail, 25.01.2009 01:45

I was stationed at Edwards when the B-70 crash occurred, assigned to the F-111A Cat.1 test program. Can you tell me what type of aircraft the other plane was? I'm thinking a T-37/38, F-104 or an F-5? Thanks. Doug Sheldon


evets, e-mail, 26.11.2008 16:34

Great aircraft like this have been the victims of foreign intervention in our Political/Business eco systems.


stephen russell, e-mail, 15.06.2008 03:59

Sat in this planes cockpit when younger, very unique view pre Concorde SST, saw plane at Edwards AFB FTC, mid 60s, what a rush, Still classic for a HST model alone.
Very viable for Supersonic Air Cargo & passenger runs with supercruise engine from F22 Raptor alone.
Be a super civil plane alone.


russkrom, e-mail, 25.05.2008 06:13

Way ahead of it's time. What an airplane!!!




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