Flight Line


Recollections and reflections — a seasoned reporter’s view of aviation history

B-58A 59-2440 of the 43rd BW, at Mildenhall’s Open House on 17 May 1969. This was the fi nal visit to the UK by a Hustler.

Setting out to produce a supersonic airliner proved to be something of a blind alley, as Concorde demonstrated so conclusively. Mach 2 bombers have been similarly thin on the ground, and it is arguable that only Convair’s B-58 Hustler, the world’s first supersonic bomber, achieved true success in its original configuration and its intended role. In the early 1950s, the USAF wanted a strategic bomber that would be capable of sustained Mach 2 cruise yet could still be operated from normal Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases and flown by regular squadron crews. Convair’s proposal, designated MX-1964, was selected over a competing Boeing design in 1952.

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