September 21, 2004

Flight of the Valkyrie. Forty years ago to this day was the first flight of a huge Mach 3 aircraft, as big as a DC-10. The XB-70 Valkyrie lifted into the skies at Palmdale, California and embarked on an intensive testing program. After its role as a bomber was abandoned, NASA helped it build a mountain of research for the doomed Boeing 2707 SST. The XB-70 was an icon of an era in which technology was grandiose and inspiring, and anything seemed possible.
  • Very nice post. This will righteously stoke your inner aerospace engineering geek, mine at least. The Valkyrie is one of the coolest planes ever built, and that first site really does it justice. The B-1B essentially descended from this work, so despite the tragedy and the few prototypes, the effort produced much valuable knowledge.
  • Suggest alerting passengers to switch to a speakers down configuration in preparation for takeoff, Cap'n.
  • cool post roly - I give it a 9. *golf clap*
  • saw one of these in the museum a dayton, ohio. yeah. the air intakes underneath the fuselage? i could have stood upright in them, easily. i'm 6'4". it's a big damn plane. it looked impressive even with the B52 nearby (to compare it for size) and the Blackbird outside (to compare it for coolness).
  • Good observation -- according to an XB-70 book I have, the intakes are not only 7 ft tall but 25 ft wide in the plenum chamber and 83 ft long. In other words you could live inside one and have more floor space than a typical apartment.
  • Great read!
  • Thank you RolypolyMan This is an invaluble resource for one of my side projects. My inner areospace engineering geek is in paroxyzms of joy.