The 70-minute, 250-mile flight path was within reach of the Rogers Dry Lake runways during which B-1A basic flight evaluation was conducted
Taken on Dec. 23, 1974, the interesting photo in this post shows the Rockwell International B-1A taking off for its first flight from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. The aircraft landed at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).
The B-1A commander was Rockwell test pilot and retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Col. Charles Bock, Jr. He was accompanied by Air Force pilot and B-1 Joint Test Force director Col. Emil “Ted” Sturmthal, and flight test engineer Richard Abrams. The 70-minute, 250-mile flight path was within reach of the Rogers Dry Lake runways during which basic flight evaluation was conducted.
The B-1A was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52. Four prototypes of this long-range, high speed (Mach 2.2) strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.
The B-1B is an improved variant initiated by the Reagan administration in 1981. Major changes included and additional structure to increase payload by 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and reduction of the radar cross-section (RCS) by an order of magnitude. The inlet was extensively modified as part of this RCS reduction, necessitating a reduction in maximum speed to Mach 1.2.
The first production B-1 flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B was delivered to Dyess AFB, Texas, in June 1985. Initial operational capability (IOC) was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988.
The B-1B holds almost 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class. The National Aeronautic Association recognized the B-1B for completing one of the 10 most memorable record flights for 1994. The most recent records were made official in 2004.
Photo credit: Edwards History Office photo / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
Source: U.S. Air Force