North American XB-70A Valkerie at Air Force Museum Wright Patterson AFB

XB-70A Nose

XB-70A side view

The XB-70 Valkerie is one of the most remarkable aircraft ever made. Designed to meet an Air Force requirement in the late fifties for a Mach 3 bomber with a 5000 mile range, the Valkerie was not only the fastest plane in the skies when it first flew in the early sixties, it was also the largest. The XB-70 weighed in at 500,000 pounds, more than a B-52 and nearly twice that of the largest commercial aircaft of the time, the Boeing 707. By the time of it's first flight the Valkerie had already become obsolete as a bomber, rapid advances in missile technology making ICBMs preferable to the USAF. Two XB-70s were built as research vehicles. One was lost in a midair collision, the other delivered to the Air Force Museum in 1969. Two friends and I made a summer pilgrimage to the Museum, and seeing this aircraft was the highlight of my trip there. I realize now how lucky I was to see this aicraft outside, as it is now inside and surrounded by many other aircraft.

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Copyright 2009, Ian A. Duncan
Revised - - 6/2/2009