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Barry Heiser photographed RB-36H 51-13730 on display at Chanute AFB in October 1964.
RB-36H Peacemaker when she was on display at Chanute AFB in Illinois. They had her painted as 44-92065, which was a B-36B, later modified to B-36D standard. All of the airplanes on display at Chanute had fictitious tail numbers. When Chanute AFB closed down in the early nineties, the Peacemaker was transferred to the Castle Air Force Base Museum. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The RB-36H is scattered in a field behind the Castle Air Force Base Museum. It had been disassembled to components that could be transported on railroad cars. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Over a period of a little more than a year, the Peacemaker was reassembled. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The rear fuselage is perched on stacks of lumber. Various panels and fairings are stacked to the side. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The forward fuselage and the wing box have been joined to the rear fuselage. The nose landing gear is place, but the fuselage and stub wings are resting on stacked lumber. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Six R-4360 engines and two pairs of J-47 jets waiting their turn to be re-attached to the RB-36H. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The nose of the RB-36H is resting on its landing gear. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
More wing structure has been attached and the outer wing panels are resting nearby. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The Peacemaker is sitting on its own wheels again. The leading edge of the wings and the bomb-bay doors have been re-attached. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
With the empennage back in place the RB-36H is returned to its full length of 162 feet. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The vertical stabilizer brings the height of the restored bomber back up to 47 feet. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The outer wing panels with the jet engine pods are back in place. The full 230 foot wing span is restored. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Preparations are underway to install the six reciprocating engines. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The Peacemaker is nearly complete. The rudder, elevators, and flaps are back in their places. The propellor spinners have yet to be installed. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The six 4,360 cubic inch, twenty-eight cylinder engines have been re-installed in the trailing edge of the wing with their nineteen foot diameter, three-bladed propellors. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The RB-36H Peacemaker is completely re-assembled, down to the propellor spinners. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Soon after its introduction into service, the B-36 design was augmented by a pair of J-47 jet engines on each wing. These are the same pods as the inboard nacelles of early models of the Boeing B-47. The pods were purchased from Boeing by Convair. The B-47 was designed to fly faster than the B-36, and its leading edges were more sharply swept than was appropriate for the Peacemaker's cruising speed. Notice how the leading edge of the pylon has a kink in it where the B-47 nacelle pylon attaches to the stub pylon, which has a more appropriate leading edge sweep for the cruising speed of the RB-36H. The engine nacelle even incorporates the fairing that enclosed the outrigger landing gear of the B-47. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The metal petals filling the inlet prevented the jets from turning in the wind as the B-36 cruised for long periods of time with them turned off. The petals retracted to allow the jet engines to be ignited for extra thrust during take-off and high speed dashes. A strut braces the nacelle against swinging from side-to-side.
Here is nearly the same nacelle design on the Castle Air Force Base Museum's Boeing B-47E Stratojet. The inlets have been redesigned to accommodate the larger airflow requirements of the later models of the J-47 jet engine. On the Stratojet, the nacelle enclosed a single wheel outrigger landing gear to balance the jet on its bicycle landing gear. The B-47 nacelle did not require the inlet filling petals of the B-36 version. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The cockpit and bombardier's station have some of the most complex glazing found on any airplane. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The biggest wing of any bomber ever flown. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The three radomes that were typically found on the lower rear fuselage of RB-36s were lost before 51-13730 was delivered to Castle, although they can be seen in the picture taken at Chanute AFB at the top of the page. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The glazing is still painted black. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
51-13730 has received a coat of silver paint and a facelift. The old nose art has been replaced with the starry blue sash of the Strategic Air Command. The vertical stabilizer is now painted gray, which differs slightly from the original appearance of the Peacemaker. The picture of the RB-36H that appears on the Castle Air Museum website shows that the stabilizer has been painted silver and additional squadron markings have been applied. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The large dark square on the forward fuselage is an observation port in the reconnaissance compartment. The most forward of the four bomb-bays of the bomber variant of the B-36 was replaced with a pressurized compartment in the reconnaissance version. A short connecting tunnel provided access from the forward fuselage through the unpressurized forward turret bay. An additional connecting tube ran back through the bomb-bay to the rear fuselage. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
One of a pair of retractable turrets, each equipped with two 20 millimeter cannon. The turret door slides down the side of the bomber to expose the two turrets. There is another pair of turrets on the forward fuselage and a third pair on the lower rear fuselage, below this pair. The gunners occupied the plexiglas bubbles. A mechanical analog computer calculated the direction to point the turrets, taking into account the necessary lead angle and the displacement of the guns from the sighting blister. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The retractable turrets viewed from inside the bomber. The left turret is in the extended position while the right turret is still retracted. Of the four survivors, this is the only B-36 that still has its gun turrets. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Some portions of the leading edge of the wing needed reskinning. The magnesium skin had suffered significant corrosion after sitting outside in Illinois for over three decades. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
The nose landing gear doors have received a coat of yellow paint. A black anti-glare panel has been added in front of the cockpit. The black paint has been stripped from the inside of the glazing. Photographer: Brian Lockett.
Several years passed between my visits to the Castle Museum. The RB-36H acquired additional unit identification markings.
The triangle S on the tail denotes the 28th SRW/BW of the 8th Air Force. The 28th was based at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.
Cross your eyes to see the RB-36H in 3-D
The badge for the 28th SRW/BW has been added to the forward fuselage.
The port for the oblique camera is open.
The 8th Air Force insignia graces the vertical stabilizer below the unit ID.
Castle Air Museum near Atwater, California hosted Open Cockpit Days over the weekend of May 25-26, 2002.
I took the opportunity to climb inside the forward crew compartment of their Convair RB-36H, 51-13730 and photograph the various crew stations.
A Bell GAM-63 Rascal missile can just be seen under the left wing of the RB-36H.
J-47 jet engine nacelle on RB-36H, 51-13730.
Bell GAM-63 Rascal
Bell GAM-63 Rascal
Link to the Castle Air Museum home page.
Dennis Jenkins has produced another large B-36 book: Magnesium Overcast.
Meyers Jacobsen has authored another book about the Convair B-36 Peacemaker: A Photo Chronicle.
Convair B-36 : A Comprehensive History of America's 'Big Stick by Meyers K. Jacobsen. Mr. Jacobsen has been compiling this history for at least a quarter of a century.
Warbird Tech: Convair B-36 Peacemaker . This volume by Dennis Jenkins contains a surprising amount of information that did not get into "The Big Stick".
The history of the efforts to preserve B-36J, 52-22827 at Fort Worth is well documented in "B-36: Saving the Last Peacemaker"; Second Edition, an html book on CD. This CD-ROM is viewed with your internet browser.
B-36: Moving the Last Peacemaker. These 875 photos show photographically the effort expended by all of the volunteers over a nine year period to save the aircraft. This CD-ROM is a self contained slide show that does not require a browser to view.
Send a message to Brian.
Go to the main Convair B-36 page.