North American XB-70A 'Valkyrie'
|  Manufacturer:||North American|
|  Base model:||B-70|
|  Designation System:||U.S. Air Force|
|  Designation Period:||1924-Present|
|  Basic role:||Bomber|
Known serial numbers
Recent comments by our visitors
St. Louis, MO
| It is on aircraft that i wish that if i was around in 59,i would have been the test pilot for it.i like its unique design and 2,000 mph characteristics!
02/28/2009 @ 16:50 [ref: 23837]
| Harry Dardio|
| I enjoyed the website. I am also fortunate enough to own 2 pieces of the wreckage of XB-70 A/V #2. If anyone has any questions, please email me. |
11/15/2004 @ 11:26 [ref: 8628]
| Steven Levin|
| "Midair! Midair! Midair!"
June 8th, 1966.
Major Carl Cross sits in the Valkyrie's cockpit for the first time, with Al White in the pilot's seat. Their flight plan is simple: they will make several passes over recording instruments at a speed of Mach 1.4 at 32,000 feet, then, at the request of General Electric, they will fly in formation with 4 other GE-powered aircraft so that GE photographers can take some publicity pictures. The boom-testing went smoothly, then, dropping subsonic speed and raising the wingtips back to 25 degrees, the Valkyrie joined up in formation with the other aircraft, including, just off her right wingtip, an F-104 Starfighter piloted by Joe Walker.
Different views of the formation (not in a specific time sequence). Walker's Starfighter is directly off the Valkyrie's starboard wingtip.
* * *
As the photo shoot progressed, the photographers asked several times for the formation to close up, until all five planes were in close proximity, and had been for over 45 minutes. Finally, at 9:26am, the photographers were done, and everyone prepared to break formation and return to Edwards.
Disaster struck at this moment as somehow, Walker's F-104 collided with the Valkyrie. The complex airflow surrounding the XB-70 lifted the F-104 over her back, spun the Starfighter around 180 degrees, causing it to smash down along the center of the Valkyrie's wing, tearing off both vertical stabilizers and damaging the left wingtip before falling away in flames. Already, Joseph A. Walker, one of America's greatest pilots, was dead.
"Midair! Midair! Midair!"
Al White and Carl Cross heard the impact, but felt nothing. Flying in the T-38 off the left wingtip, Joe Cotton called out "207 (identifying AV/2) you've been hit! You've been hit!" But in those first moments, neither White nor Cross heard the call. Even as Cotton continued "okay, you're doing fine, he got the verticals, but you're still doing fine," White turned to Cross and asked "I wonder who got hit?"
16 seconds after the impact, the XB-70 started a slight roll. Al White corrected the roll -- and instantly recognized the Valkyrie's peril as she began a snap roll to the right. Ramming the number six engine's throttle to maximum afterburner, he tried to save AV/2 -- but after 2 slow rolls, the plane broke into a sickening spin, taking any hopes of recovery with it. White pushed his seat back into the eject position, but caught his arm in the ejection pod's clamshell doors (see inset photo at left) as they closed. Unable to communicate with the struggling Carl Cross, and unable to eject until getting his arm clear, White could only watch his co-pilot fail to get into his pod for ejection. Finally, with the realization that he needed to get out now, Al White worked his arm clear and ejected just moments before AV/2 slammed into the ground a few miles north of Barstow, California.
Although the drogue chutes deployed from White's pod, he realized the airbag underneath the pod -- designed to absorb much of the impact -- had failed to inflate. Striking the ground, White took a 44G impact -- lessened to 33Gs as his chair broke free of its mountings. Amazingly, although banged, battered, and bruised, he suffered no broken bones. Although White returned to flight status just three months later, he never flew the XB-70 again.
Carl Cross was not so lucky. Still in his seat, he impacted the ground with AV/2 in a relatively flat configuration and was killed instantly.
In just 76 seconds, 2 men, and one of the greatest planes ever built were gone.
01/31/2002 @ 18:40 [ref: 4228]
| Jeff Callier|
| Photo ID 1242 is a great shot of B-70 in dropped-fin or "compression-lift" configuration. Coupled with maximum thrust from the "six-pack", it produced the highest speed and the highest altitude |
04/08/2001 @ 21:39 [ref: 2033]
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