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View Full Version : Ot: For Aviation Buffs, Engineers Station on a B36 Bomber



RetiredFAE
06-02-2013, 10:57 PM
Can't get the pictures of the plane I got with this to post, but it shows a B36 with SIX reciprocating R-4360s and four J-47 jets to keep an eye on, plus fuel, pressurization, hydraulics, electrical, and other systems. LOTSA clocks!

Here's the link to the inside view that lets you rotated 360 to see it all.

http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/media/062/B-36J%20Engineer.html

flylo
06-03-2013, 12:10 AM
To be so huge there is very little room in those or any bomber. Still gotta get checked out in a DC3, maybe this year. Since 1935 still flying passengers, cargo & contraband in 3rd world countries. Taildraggers, get off short on grass. I collect "Air Facts" that test flies & reports on '30-'50s planes. One copy is totally on how to fly a Gooney Bird. I've read it 20+ times.

J Tiers
06-03-2013, 12:14 AM
Neat. I like those "self directed" views.


BTW..... not just contraband.....

DC-3 was used until recently on regular flights out of Lambert in St Louis. I'd see it headed South in the evening, and no mistaking the sound. I believe it was "JIT" flights delivering auto parts to assembly plants. Flights quit right about the time the auto companies got in big trouble, whether it was that or something else.

Tom Curlee
06-03-2013, 12:23 AM
Were there two flight engineers on the B-36? I see two seats. It looks like a mount in the ceiling for what may be a sextant, but really don't see any room for a navigator - wall to wall indicators for the flight engineer(s).

darryl
06-03-2013, 01:13 AM
You'd think it was a nuclear power plant or something-

Paul Alciatore
06-03-2013, 01:39 AM
You'd think it was a nuclear power plant or something-

Well, he was monitoring 10 engines. And heaven only knows how much else. Electrical. Hydraulic. Pneumatic? If you have ever seen one, then you know just how big it is. I forget how many bomb bays it had. And everything HAD to work. Monitoring a nuclear plant may have been simpler.

Peter S
06-03-2013, 03:32 AM
You'd think it was a nuclear power plant or something-

A B-36 was used for Atomic-Powered Aircraft testing.....the NB-36H made 21 flights with its test reactor "critical". This was a 1000kw air-cooled reactor, not used to power the aircraft. Highly modified flight engineers station, not to mention the rest of the aircraft with its 6-inch thick plexiglass windshield, 4-ton lead disc shield etc.

The next proposed step was the X-6 which was based on a B-36 with its six piston and four turbojet engines and a further 4 atomic engines under the fuselage. The standard engines would be used to take-off and land, the atomic engines for rest of flight. This latter aircraft was not completed.

Peter.
06-03-2013, 04:06 AM
No leg-room for the poor engineer.

boslab
06-03-2013, 05:40 AM
That must have been a hell of a panel to wire! Colour blind need not apply!
Mark

Stu
06-03-2013, 07:15 AM
Looks like the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson. Is that a B-52 out the starboard window?

Stu

J Tiers
06-03-2013, 08:16 AM
That must have been a hell of a panel to wire! Colour blind need not apply!
Mark

Many items I have seen/worked on have just numbered wires. A LOT of numbers. It can make the schematic heck to follow, and the wiring worse.

Umpty-hundred white wires, with just numbers to distinguish them. Schematic with numbered wires shown entering a bundle, and the bundle shown as one line which you then must follow to find all the places that wire may exit.

Greg Q
06-03-2013, 08:34 AM
I used to fly Convair 580s, originally CV-440s, made roughly in the same years as the B-36. It's logical, but still delightful, to see many common furnishings, lights, fittings etc.

Flylo...if you can fly an Apache and a Stinson you can fly a Dak. I slaved for a DC-3 operator in 1974, doing night freight. Even now whenever I hear a radial engine I go into a coma. The hardest thing about them is climbing up the greasy ladder to add gallons of oil, and to pit up with all that noise for only 130 kts airspeed (PanAm gear doors). Also, try not to be six and a half feet tall...you will never get comfortable.

ed_h
06-03-2013, 09:53 AM
Many items I have seen/worked on have just numbered wires.

+1. The tanks and other track vehicles I worked on in the early 70s had all white wires with tiny numbers printed on them every few inches.

The B-36 was well before this, so don't know if it was the same.

saltmine
06-03-2013, 10:44 AM
An old friend of mine was in the Air Force around the time they were flying B-36's. He worked on C-124 "Shakys" too. Whenever the pilot asked the engineer for a status report on the engines, he used to reply, "I got six turnin' and four burning." If I'm not mistaken, the B-36 was one of the few US military aircraft that used avgas burning jet engines.

The little Hughes 269a had all white wires, with tiny little numbers every few inches. You almost needed a microscope to do any wiring repairs on one...The Sheriff's Department used to have two of them. (one bought for spare parts). They kept it on a single axle trailer, parked next to the hangar. More than once, the Sheriff's pilot tried to take off without disconnecting the trailer....I seriously doubt if it would have gotten off the ground, though....Carrying the pilot and one fat Deputy, on a hot day, the little thing was sorely pressed to get off of the ground...(The airport here in Kingman is 3300 ft. ASL) The County finally sold the Hughes birds and picked up a couple of Army surplus OH-58a Bell helicopters. That's about the time our pilot stormed into the Sheriff's office, and demanded the Sheriff send him to rescue lift training up-date classes. He probably would have gotten his request, if he hadn't been shouting and beating on the Sheriff's desk. The Sheriff promptly grounded the helicopter, and in a rage, the pilot quit.

DICKEYBIRD
06-03-2013, 11:26 AM
B-36's stayed aloft very long periods. The saying was that the only time they landed was to re-up the crew.:D

Another unusual feature was the wings were so thick that there were access crawlspaces inside the wings that allowed in-flight access to the engines.

Jaakko Fagerlund
06-03-2013, 01:07 PM
An old friend of mine was in the Air Force around the time they were flying B-36's. He worked on C-124 "Shakys" too. Whenever the pilot asked the engineer for a status report on the engines, he used to reply, "I got six turnin' and four burning." If I'm not mistaken, the B-36 was one of the few US military aircraft that used avgas burning jet engines.
"Two turnin', two burnin', two smokin', two jokin' and two unaccounted for" :D

flylo
06-03-2013, 01:45 PM
I've always loved those and have 700+ hours in old prewar taildraggers & getting ready to sell my '47 Vtail 35 Bonanza. I've flown all the Beech singles and can't believe the Sierra is such a Brick compared to a Bonanza. I have a friend that owns a flight school next to Jack Browns Seaplane base in Wintwe Haven Florida & bet he can hook me up.I have a Tcraft with the Swick & Cole mods & Fresh 160HP Lyc B2B that's in the Exp/Homebuilt class & Kevlar Amfib Floats, 2-40 gal wing tanks in the long wings + a 27 gal tank for the extended baggage comp. I have the ribs rwady for a set of clip wings for aerobatics & 55 gallons of smoke oil, This will be a rocket if/when it's finished.

I used to fly Convair 580s, originally CV-440s, made roughly in the same years as the B-36. It's logical, but still delightful, to see many common furnishings, lights, fittings etc.

Flylo...if you can fly an Apache and a Stinson you can fly a Dak. I slaved for a DC-3 operator in 1974, doing night freight. Even now whenever I hear a radial engine I go into a coma. The hardest thing about them is climbing up the greasy ladder to add gallons of oil, and to pit up with all that noise for only 130 kts airspeed (PanAm gear doors). Also, try not to be six and a half feet tall...you will never get comfortable.

The Artful Bodger
06-03-2013, 04:16 PM
Flylo, we have a Dak in the hangar here and the guys are always looking for an excuse to take her for a little fly somewhere. Available for charters etc and I know a few people have recently done ratings on her..

davidh
06-03-2013, 05:04 PM
.............I have a Tcraft with the Swick & Cole mods & Fresh 160HP Lyc B2B that's in the Exp/Homebuilt class & Kevlar Amfib Floats, 2-40 gal wing tanks in the long wings + a 27 gal tank for the extended baggage comp. I have the ribs rwady for a set of clip wings for aerobatics & 55 gallons of smoke oil, This will be a rocket if/when it's finished.

drive her up here when you can. . . . land on my neighboring lake. . . . I wanna ride

Ed P
06-03-2013, 05:24 PM
Those 360 degree views are just too cool. In the text they refer to a XF-85 Goblin that is supposed to be stored next to it, but I don't see it. If I understand it correctly the plane was big enough to launch the XF-85 directly from its bomb bay. Neat!

Here is a virtual tour of the whole place.

http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/full/tour-std.html


Ed P

RandyZ
06-03-2013, 07:02 PM
The navigator was in the "basement" under the cockpit.

That other bomber out the window is a B-47 I believe.

RandyZ
06-03-2013, 07:10 PM
Another unusual feature was the wings were so thick that there were access crawlspaces inside the wings that allowed in-flight access to the engines.

Also I've read stories where they would have trouble dropping the landing gear. Some brave SOB would climb through the wing and into the wheel wells. With a big hammer,he would knock out the up locks. The landing gear then fell out from under him. It was considered OKay to do this without a safety harness or a parachute. Then he repeated the whole thing on the other side if it hung up as well.

Black_Moons
06-03-2013, 07:37 PM
Wow amazing calarity when you zoom in. Looks like the pilots controled the 4 jets and the engineers controled the 6 recips?

In flight access to the engines? gez, with that many engines...
"Ok yea go change the oil and check the spark plugs on number 4 while I maintain cruse speed on the remaining 9 engines... Oh whoops, Another engine went out. Mind taking the two apart and making one working engine outta em? No? Oh well who cares we got 8 more anyway..."

boslab
06-03-2013, 08:58 PM
I know that the US bombers during WW2 flying daylight raids must have had balls of unobtainium cooled with liquid helium, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for them as they were rumbling down the runway enroute to Germany, I defies description, I had a chat with my uncle who was a USAF pilot who described it very well, the time I remembered what he told me was when I was having a heart attack, this is the last day of my life, I cannot imagine doing that for a whole tour of duty! He has my respect, as do all the others who have done the same selfless job in all the services
Including the Electricians!
Regards
Mark

dp
06-04-2013, 02:34 AM
Interesting that the pilots have throttles for all 6 engines, left seat has all eight, but so too does the engineering station. Only the engineers have tachometers for the engines and turbochargers. No idea who controls prop pitch. That may be derived from manifold pressure (Engineers, again). Quite a distribution of responsibility. I had the distinct pleasure of watching a fleet of B-36 aircraft doing touch and go operations at Fairchild airbase in the late 1950s while on lay-over on a flight back from Hawaii. I think I was 11 or 12 at the time. They rattled your teeth and other parts.

Plain ol Bill
06-04-2013, 05:02 PM
I was raised not far from Convair (later General Dynamics) where the B36's were made. When my Mom sold that house about eight years ago every window in the house had glass that still rattled from the noise those monster made flying over. I watched those, the FB111's, F16's, B58's all taking off from Carswell air base. Used to be a popular parking spot along the runway w/ your girlfriends and sometimes the planes got watched.
First power run up on the B58 at the end of the runway tossed gigantic chunks of concrete from the runway up behind the plane. Watched the F16 on second or third flight take off in a short space, rotate straight up and went out of sight that way.

J Tiers
06-04-2013, 10:17 PM
Watched the F16 on second or third flight take off in a short space, rotate straight up and went out of sight that way.

The F-15s from M. A. C. over at Lambert used to do that. I was over there for the "Eagle day" demonstration flights a very long time ago, and watched that from out on the concrete at M.A.C. Pilot just pulled it up vertical and accelerated out of sight in no time. Usually they just did a steep angle to get the noise out of range and clear the airspace.