Happy Birthday Peacemaker: The First Flight of Convair’s Iconic B-36 Occurred on August 8th, 1946

Official US Air Force Photograph

“Size 36” was the first movie made for the public about the Convair B-36 Peacemaker strategic bomber. The Signal Corps produced the movie in 1950 and it was shown in movie theaters to a suitably amazed public all over the country. It has been said that the movie was also made so the Soviets, who had nothing comparable to it, would get an eyeful of the B-36. That’s détente too…comrade. Either way the film is a unique look at the B-36 soon after it entered service with Strategic Air Command (SAC) in 1949. Thanks to YouTuber AVhistorybuff for uploading this first-for-many look at the Peacemaker.

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Convair built a total of 384 B-36s at their manufacturing plant in Fort Worth. SAC operated the huge bombers for only about ten years. The “six turning four burning” design, the genesis of which occurred soon after the beginning of World War II, allowed the Peacemaker to cruise at 40,000 feet. SAC crews often made their simulated attacks on an unsuspecting public from closer to 50,000 feet of altitude. Aerospace technology was advancing so quickly during the 1950s that the B-36s became obsolescent seemingly overnight. Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses began replacing them in 1955 and scrapping B-36s was a growth industry by 1956. The last B-36 flight occurred in 1959.

Official US Air Force Photograph