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B-58 Hustlers Were Sonic Booming and Record Setting Machines

When First Introduced Into USAF Service, Convair’s Delta Wing Bombers Went After It.

Official US Air Force photograph

Convair’s B-58 Hustler was a record-setting machine back when it was introduced in 1960. The builders of the jet produced a Progress Report film during 1961 highlighting the fact that at the time the B-58 was “swift, capable, versatile, and operational.” Hustlers flying low and very fast are seen setting several records. The film, uploaded to YouTube by Jeff Quitney, is in good shape. The sound could be better but the uploader claims to have improved it. Either way it’s B-58 footage!

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Official US Air Force photograph

The B-58 was envisaged as a high-altitude high-speed bomber but was forced to change mission profiles because Soviet defensive systems improved nearly simultaneously with its entry into operational service. Hustlers augmented and replaced some of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet bombers employed by Strategic Air Command (SAC). B-58s were well known to the public because of their futuristic appearance and their propensity to produce sonic booms. Later in their service lives B-58s were used to research the effects of sonic booms on populations and infrastructure.

Official US Air Force photograph

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.