By Dario Leone
Nov 27 2017
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The XB-70 Valkyrie No. 2 was destroyed on Jun. 8, 1966 following an accidental mid-air collision

Taken on Jul. 17, 1965, the impressive photo in this post shows the North American XB-70 Valkyrie No. 2 arriving at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) following its maiden flight from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

Noteworthy this aircraft was destroyed on Jun. 8, 1966 following an accidental mid-air collision.

The XB-70 Valkyrie was originally designed in the 1950s as a Mach 3 bomber but eventually it never went into production because new Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) threatened the survivability of high-speed, high-altitude bombers. Moreover less costly, nuclear-armed ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) were also entering service.

Instead the Valkyrie was used for flight research involving the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and NASA‘s Flight Research Center (FRC), which was a predecessor of today’s NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

In fact the XB-70 was the world’s largest experimental aircraft and was eventually used to collect in-flight information for use in the design of future supersonic aircraft, military and civilian. The major objectives of the XB-70 flight research program were to study the airplane’s stability and handling characteristics, to evaluate its response to atmospheric turbulence, and to determine the aerodynamic and propulsion performance. In addition there were secondary objectives to measure the noise and friction associated with airflow over the airplane and to determine the levels and extent of the engine noise during takeoff, landing, and ground operations.

Photo credit: Edwards History Office file photo

Source: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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