Air Force

August 30, 2013

This week in history

Tags:
Richard Griset
56th Fighter Wing History Office

Aug. 25, 1953: Peacemaker becomes flying aircraft carrier

B-36_F-84F_FICON_launch
The Air Force announced Aug. 25, 1953, that the Convair B-36 Peacemaker had become a “flying aircraft carrier” that could launch and recover Republic F-84 Thunderjet aircraft.

It’s hard to believe this story began with the German Blitz of England in 1940 to 1941. England took such a pounding, America was not sure Britain could withstand the onslaught. So, if America had to go it alone, it would need an intercontinental bomber that could reach Berlin. The B-36 entered the inventory in 1948 as the largest combat aircraft ever built.

With a wingspan of 230 feet, it used six piston and four jet engines with a crew of fifteen, which later shrank to nine. The Peacemaker had an approximate combat range of 4,000 miles. Additionally, it could fly over 40,000 feet, which was higher than enemy artillery, missiles, piston fighter aircraft, and even early jet aircraft could reach.

The aircraft could also carry the large nuclear weapons of its day. By 1952, the enemy’s defense had improved.

Gen. Curtis LeMay, Strategic Air Command commander, ordered three experiments with bombers carrying fighter aircraft to recon for and defend the bombers. Three efforts took shape. The first two proved unsafe, even deadly. The third, the Fighter Conveyor, or FICON, led to the 1953 announcement.

In 1952, SAC modified B-36s with a trapeze in the bomb bay. Initially a McDonnell XF-85 Goblin attached itself to the trapeze while in flight and the bomber raised the top of the aircraft into the bomb bay. In May 1953, they replaced the Goblin with the Thunderjet. While a challenge for test pilots in perfect conditions, it proved less successful in weather and with less experienced pilots.

Additionally, if the fighters carried fuel tanks, the bomber had less than six inches clearance with the ground upon landing. The FICON’s last flight was April 27, 1956. On that date, SAC was already in the process of replacing the B-36 with the Boeing B-52 Stratofortess.

Due to its strategic role and deterrence value, the Peacemaker never fired a shot or dropped a bomb in combat.

Courtesy of




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Airman leaves AF to pursue college B-ball career

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Patrick Paul, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron, shoots a jump shot during a game against the 56th Security Forces Squadron at the Bryant Fitness Center. Paul is finishing out his Air Force commitme...
 
 
140307-F-CB366-007

Airmen shave heads for pilot’s son battling cancer

Senior Airman David Owsianka Airmen from the 62nd Fighter Squadron recently shaved their heads to support a deceased officer’s son who is battling with cancer. Second Lt. Dave Mitchell, former 62nd FS pilot, lost his life dur...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Instructor pilot selected as Olmsted scholar

Courtesy photo Capt. Daniel Wynn, 56th Operations Support Squadron operations flight commander, prepares to refuel in an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a combat mission over Afghanistan in August 2011. For many U.S. military membe...
 

 
Courtesy photo

AF reservist finds new mission in Ethiopia

Courtesy photo Capt. Amy West, an individual mobilization augmentee assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office, poses with her husband and son July 27, 2013, in front of the Blue Nile waterfall in Ethiopia. West wo...
 
 

Air Force News – April 11, 2014

Colorado Even when the Air Force was established as an independent service in 1947, many were skeptical of the value of an Air Force academy. To the officers and civilians charged with establishing guidelines for an air academy, it was clearly needed. Sixty years ago on April 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation establishing...
 
 

People First – April 11, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story. AF updates...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin