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Valkyrie: The North American XB-70 : The USA's Ill-fated Supersonic Heavy Bomber [Format Kindle]

Graham M Simons

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During the 1950s, at the time Elvis Presley was rocking the world with Hound Dog and the USA was aiming to become the world’s only superpower, plans were being drawn at North American Aviation in Southern California for an incredible Mach-3 strategic bomber. The concept was born as a result of General Curtis LeMay’s desire for a heavy bomber with the weapon load and range of the subsonic B-52 and a top speed in excess of the supersonic medium bomber, the B-58 Hustler. If LeMay’s plans came to fruition there would be 250 Valkyries in the air; it would be the pinnacle of his quest for the ultimate strategic bomber operated by America’s Strategic Air Command. The design was a leap into the future that pushed the envelope in terms of exotic materials, avionics and power plants.

However, in April 1961, Defense Secretary McNamara stopped the production go-ahead for the B-70 because of rapid cost escalation and the USSR’s newfound ability to destroy aircraft at extremely high altitude using either missiles or the new Mig-25 fighter. Nevertheless, in 1963 plans for the production of three high-speed research aircraft were approved and construction proceeded. In September 1964 the first Valkyrie, now re-coded A/V-1 took to the air for the first time and in October went supersonic.

This book is the most detailed description of the design, engineering and research that went into this astounding aircraft. It is full of unpublished details, photographs and firsthand accounts from those closely associated with the project. Although never put into full production, this giant six-engined aircraft became famous for its breakthrough technology, and the spectacular images captured on a fatal air-to-air photo shoot when an observing Starfighter collided with Valkyrie A/V-2 which crashed into the Mojave Desert.

The loss of the $750 million aircraft and two lives stopped future development, although there were several attempts to redesign it as an airliner to compete against the European Concorde.

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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  52 commentaires
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Full Story of the XB-70, Superbly Told 5 mars 2012
Par Terry Sunday - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
North American Aviation's Mach 3 "Valkyrie" holds a place of special significance in the annals of aerospace history, and Graham M. Simons details its whole fascinating story in this superb volume. I intend it as high praise indeed when I say "Valkyrie: The North American XB-70" is a typical British aviation book. It's well-written, exhaustively researched, comprehensive in scope and filled from cover to cover with nearly 300 excellent photographs and drawings. The photos, although typically only two or three inches on a side, are exceptionally sharp and crisp, revealing detail belied by their relatively small size. As far as I know, many are previously unpublished, including numerous shots of the two aircraft under construction at the North American factory and Mr. Simons own photos of Air Vehicle 1 at the Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

The XB-70 story is one of technological advancement, military brinksmanship, contractual legerdemain and partisan politics. Although the program's original objective was to produce hundreds of sleek, nuclear-armed supersonic bombers to replace the Air Force's Boeing B-52 "Stratofortresses," it ultimately produced just two high-tech, expensive and exotic aircraft that served purely for flight testing in the multi-sonic regime. Mr. Simons traces the complex history of the program and its many twists and turns in great detail, quoting extensively from the participants and from primary source documents. Techno-geeks will savor his descriptions of the design and construction of the aircraft down to the nuts-and-bolts level in a 45-page, profusely illustrated chapter. Another lengthy section, filled with annotated drawings and photos of the onboard instrument panels and diagrams from the Flight Manual, covers what it was like to fly the XB-70 on a typical mission, from engine start to landing. Mr. Simons analyzes in detail and with many photos the tragic loss of XB-70 Air Vehicle 2 in a mid-air collision with a Lockheed F-104 "Starfighter" on June 8, 1966. He also describes the relationships between the XB-70 and Lockheed's A-12/SR-71 "Blackbird," the Soviet Sukhoi T-4, the stillborn American Supersonic Transport (SST) and the Anglo-French "Concorde" SST.

Mr. Simons includes many interesting anecdotes about procuring, designing, building and flying the "Valkyrie." For example, he rebuts the urban legend that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson misspoke when he announced the existence of Lockheed's "Blackbird," accidentally calling it "SR-71" instead of "RS-71." He shows that Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtiss E. LeMay engineered the change to Johnson's speech. Bizarrely, however, Mr. Simons says Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects office bore the name "Skunk Works" because of the "striking black-and-white carpet in their entrance foyer." Well--maybe, but I doubt it. ALL other authors who cover the subject tell how the "Skunk Works" got its name from Al Capp's "Li'l Abner" comic strip. Perhaps Mr. Simons knows something about the name's origin that NO other author has uncovered, but again--I doubt it.

Aside from that one minor glitch, I found "Valkyrie: The North American XB-70" to be a very readable, complete and accurate reference on one of the most striking, distinctive aircraft that has ever graced the skies. This superb volume belongs on the bookshelf of every modern aviation enthusiast. I recommend it very highly.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb - detail & images. 2 avril 2012
Par Dr. David Arelette - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I could vaguely remember the Life magazine spread on the collision of the prototype with the chase planes and the XB70 passed into history especially when the Apollo missions were taking the headlines. This book is a detailed and unbiased story of the development of the two prototypes right down to the original drawings of parts and assemblies - anyone interested in complex project development will enjoy seeing the challenges (some near catostrophic when the nose wheen circuit breaker failed) and how these were overcome - in a time when a tape recorder was the most complex measuring device available. It leaves the reader wondering how this aircraft would have performed over the decades since if it had run to production - it may have ended the cold war earlier as the Warsaw Pact had little to stop this Mach 3 manned delivery system. Buy a copy for your dad and keep it for yourself.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Valkyrie Supersonic...Super Book 7 janvier 2013
Par Geoffrey McCarthy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Having seen the remaining XB-70 in the USAF museum, I eagerly bought this book. It is a very complete history of the development, testing, and flights of this unique aircraft. Moreover, the author covers the politics very well, and the engineering innovations that allowed it to meet the speed and range specifications. Even though I was in the USAF at that time, I was not aware of the conflict between the A-12 and XB-70. Too bad we never built a prototype F-108; that would have been an equally interesting story! Kudos to Mr. Simons, and to Pen and Sword publishers.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Valkyrie: The North American XB-70 - The USA's Ill-Fated Supersconic Heavy Mach 3 Bomber 13 mai 2013
Par John T. Beckman, III. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This aircraft would have led the way for America to become the top World Country in technology had it been ordered into full production! As it was, only two of the XB-70 Mach 3 Bombers were built & only one of them is still intact and able to be seen at a museum...go see it...it will blow you away by its shear size and technology!! If Secretary of State McNamara had not cancelled the B-70 Bomber project for use of its funds to keep the war in Vietnam going for several more years, America would have been better off with the B-70 Bomber!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An OUTSTANDING record..! 26 décembre 2013
Par Joe Jakusz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I was sort of preoccupied during this bit of history and wanted to learn more about it. This book filled in a lot of my blank spaces. Having read about the SR-71 earlier, I was surprised to learn more about tuned air intakes, which (due to a total lack of thought on my part) I had thought was as secret as the Blackbird was. In a book about the F-4 Phantom I read later, I learned that the designers of every supersonic aircraft became very intimate with the need to tune the air intakes and the subsequent need to vary that tuning during flight. Tuned inlets and the "unstarts" which occur when that tuning fails, I learned, are common knowledge among the designers of fast aircraft and the folks who fly them. Now, that light has also shined in the darkness of my little skull...
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