16 October 1963 – A Convair B-58A Hustler sets a speed record from Tokyo to London.

October 16, 2022Aviation305th Bombardment Wing, 61-2059, B-58A-20-CF, Convair B-58A, Convair Division of General Dynamics, Distinguished Flying Cross, FAI, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, General Electric M61 Vulcan, Gerard Williamson, Greased Lightning, Hustler, John Barrett, National Aeronautic Association, Operation Greased Lightning, Sidney J. Kubesch, Strategic Air and Space Museum, Strategic Bomber, Supersonic Flight, World Record for Speed Over a Recognized Course

 

Convair B-58A-20-CF Hustler 61-2059, Greased Lightning. (U.S. Air Force)

 

Major Sidney J. Kubesch, U.S. Air Force, with his wife, Joanna Alice Cole Kubesch, at RAF Greenham Common, 16 October 1963. (Kokomo Tribune)

 

16 October 1963: Operation Greased Lightning. Major Sidney J. Kubesch, Major John Barrett and Captain Gerard Williamson flew from Tokyo, Japan, to London England, non-stop, in 8 hours, 35 minutes, 20.4 seconds. Their airplane was a Convair B-58A-20-CF Hustler, serial number 61-2059, named Greased Lightning. It was assigned to the 305th Bombardment Wing, 19th Air Division, at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana.

Five inflight refuelings were required to complete the flight. The bomber had to slow from its supersonic cruise to rendezvous with the tankers. The B-58’s average speed was 692.71 miles per hour (1,114.81 kilometers per hour). The time from Tokyo to Anchorage, Alaska was 3 hours, 9 minutes, 42 seconds at an average speed of 1,093.4 miles per hour (1,759.7 kilometers per hour); and Anchorage to London, 5 hours, 24 minutes, 54 seconds at 826.9 miles per hour (1.330.8 kilometers per hour).

Greased Lightning‘s speed record still stands.

The three crewmen were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

Major Sidney J. Kubesch, Aircraft Commander, Major John Barrett, Navigator and Captain Gerard Williamson. (Kokomo Tribune)

The B-58 Hustler was a high-altitude Mach 2 strategic bomber which served with the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1970. It was crewed by a pilot, navigator/bombardier and a defensive systems operator located in individual cockpits. The aircraft is a delta-winged configuration similar to the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart supersonic interceptors.

The Hustler is 96 feet, 10 inches (29.515 meters) long, with a wing span of 56 feet, 10 inches (17.323 meters) and an overall height of 31 feet 5 inches (9.576 meters). The wing’s leading edge is swept back at a 60° angle and the fuselage incorporates the “area rule” which resulted in a “wasp waist” or “Coke bottle” shape for a significant reduction in aerodynamic drag. The airplane’s only control surfaces are two “elevons” and a rudder, and there are no flaps.

The B-58A was powered by four General Electric J79-GE-5 axial-flow afterburning turbojet engines, suspended under the wings from pylons. This was a single-shaft engine with a 17-stage compressor and 3-stage turbine, rated at 10,300 pounds of thrust (45.82 kilonewtons), and 15,600 pounds (69.39 kilonewtons) with afterburner. The J79-GE-5 was 16 feet, 10.2 inches (5.136 meters) long and 3 feet, 2.0 inches (0.965 meters) in diameter.

The bomber had a cruise speed of 610 miles per hour (981.7 kilometers per hour) and a maximum speed of 1,325 miles per hour (2,132.4 kilometers per hour). The service ceiling is 64,800 feet (19,751 meters). Unrefueled range is 4,400 miles (7,081 kilometers). Maximum weight is 168,000 pounds (76,203.5 kilograms).

The B-58 weapons load was a combination of a W-39 warhead, and/or Mk.43 or B61 nuclear bombs. The W-39 warhead, the same used with the Redstone IRBM or Snark cruise missile, was carried in a jettisonable centerline pod, which also carried fuel for the aircraft. The smaller bombs were carried on underwing hardpoints. For defense, there was a General Electric M61 Vulcan 20×102 mm six-barreled rotary cannon mounted in the tail, with 1,200 rounds of linked ammunition, controlled by the Defensive Systems Officer.

Convair B-58A-20 CF 61-2059 is in the collection of the Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, Nebraska.

Convair B-58A-20-CF 61-2059, “Greased Lightning,” at the Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, Nebraska. (SASM)

Related Posts

Last but not least, the US tests the upgraded Super

Finally: US Tests the NEW Super A-10 Warthog After Getting An Upgrade   With its razor-sharp fangs and an Avenger Gatling gun, the Super A-10 Thunderbolt II…

Super Tomcat 21: The Plan To Build A ‘Super’ F-14 Tomcat

Why the Super Tomcat 21 Was Not To Be: Designed to incorporate the air combat experience learned during the Vietnam wᴀʀ, the Grumman F-14 was the first…

World Astonished By New Swedish Fighter Jet

For a country with a population of just over 10 million people, it’s impressive that Sweden can maintain one of the best fighter aircraft programs. An aircraft’s…

Nothing can stop the “Hummer” – the first aircraft built from the ground up specifically for airborne early warning

Six decades of active service have been logged by the E-2 Hawkeye. The Northrup Grumman-built E-2 is capable of operating in all weather conditions and from aircraft…

E-2 Hawkeye: The Hummer You Don’t Mess With

The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is the Navy’s all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft. The E-2 is a twin engine, five…

Events Occur When a Pilot Fails to Land on US Aircraft Carriers

Excellent with all the measures taken to make it extraordinarily clear and informative. For them, business is business. The leap forward in science and technology and its…

Leave a Reply

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