On Veterans Day, Nov 11th, 1956 Convair's revolutionary delta wing B-58 "Hustler" supersonic bomber took to the skies for the first time, piloted by B. A, Ericson, who had also flown the first test flight of the company's giant B-36 "Peacemaker" intercontinental bomber.
You'll see both the low and high speed taxi testing, including front wheel lift off, that proceeded the B-58's first flight, delivering excellent footage of the silvery prototype from a number of angles. The first flight takes the aircraft to Mach .7 at 20,000' and back down again without a hitch -- and you'll see it all in this memorable color film
A pilot once said of the Convair B-58, "She looked like she was breaking the sound barrier just sitting on the tarmac." At Mach 2 +, the B-58 wasn't just one of the fastest bombers of her day, she was one of the fastest military planes period. A first cousin of the hot "century series" of fighters, the delta winged "Hustler' medium bomber combined outstanding performance with a striking, javelin-like profile that spawned a mystique that survives to this day. In the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, in just two years the B-58 captured 14 speed and performance records, many previously held by Soviet aircraft. She was not only capable of extended 700 mph on-the deck missions at 500 feet (then unheard of for a bomber and without the advantages of today's ground hugging radar or fly-by-wire) she also set altitude and climb records. The B-58 was capable of doing whatever was necessary to invade enemy air space. .