Note: This aircraft is located in the Research & Development Gallery on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Click here for requirements to visit this gallery.
The XB-70, one of the world's most exotic airplanes, was conceived for the Strategic Air Command in the 1950s as a high-altitude bomber that could fly three times the speed of sound (Mach 3). Because of fund limitations, only two were built, not as bombers, but as research aircraft for the advanced study of aerodynamics, propulsion and other subjects related to large supersonic aircraft.
The Valkyrie was built largely of stainless-steel honeycomb sandwich panels and titanium. It was designed to make use of a phenomenon called "compression lift," achieved when the shock wave generated by the airplane flying at supersonic speeds supports part of the airplane's weight. For improved stability at supersonic speeds, the Valkyrie could droop its wingtips as much as 65 degrees.
The No. 1 XB-70 made its initial flight on Sept. 21, 1964, and achieved Mach 3 flight on Oct. 14, 1965. The No. 2 airplane first flew on July 17, 1965, but on June 8, 1966, it crashed following a mid-air collision. The No. 1 airplane continued in its research program until flown to the museum on Feb. 4, 1969.
Span: 105 ft. Length: 185 ft. 10 in. without boom; 192 ft. 2 in. with boom Height: 30 ft. 9 in. Weight: 534,700 lbs. loaded Armament: None Engines: Six General Electric YJ-93s of 30,000 lbs. thrust each (with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 2,056 mph (Mach 3.1) at 73,000 ft. Cruising speed: 2,000 mph (Mach 3.0) at 72,000 ft. Range: 4,288 miles Service ceiling: 77,350 ft.