Convair YB-60 Heavy Jet Bomber
Convair YB-60 Heavy Bomber of the U.S. Air Force
(from the author's Wings Friend or Foe collection)
As the advent of jet aircraft began to emerge in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Convair started design on a swept-winged version of the B-36 with all-jet propulsion. It also designed and built a prototype large-scale transport plane, the Convair XC-99.
The B-36G and the YB-60
In March 1951, the US Air Force authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs to B-36Gs.
Since the jet aircraft was so different from production B-36 models, the designation was later changed to YB-60.
The eight-engine YB-60 shared 72% of its parts with the B-36. The fuselages of the two aircraft were nearly identical, although the YB-60 had a longer, pointed nose with a needle-like instrument probe, instead of the B-36's rounded nose.
The wingspan of the plane was 206 feet, the length 171 feet.
One YB-60 prototype was completed, S/N 49-2676, and used in test flights, with its maiden flight on April 18, 1952; a second prototype plane, S/N 49-2684) was never completed.
The YB-60's competitor was the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, which the Air Force selected as its next generation of heavy bomber.
The B-52 could fly about 100 mph faster than the B-60. The two YB-60 planes were scrapped in July, 1954.
Convair YB-60 Specifications
Armament: Designed for two 20mm cannons in the tail and up to 72,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Eight Pratt & Whitney XJ57-P-3 turbojets of 8,700 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. 510 mph
Cruising speed: 435 mph
Range: 10,000 miles maximum ferry range
Service ceiling: 52,000 ft.
Span: 206 ft. 0 in.
Length: 171 ft. 0 in.
Height: 50 ft. 0 in.
Weight: 300,000 lbs. maximum
Crew: Five (pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier, tail gunner)
Photographs of the Convair YB-60
Convair YB-60 S/N 49-2676
Convair YB-60 and B-36 shown side by side
Convair YB-60 on tarmac
Convair YB-60 at Convair plant with B-36 aircraft in the background
Convair YB-60 in Flight