Meet the Air Force Museum's supersonic, exotic bomber

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The XB-70 Valkyrie, an early supersonic bomber, will be on display in the new fourth building of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

THE FOURTH BUILDING

What: Latest addition to the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Where: 1100 Spaatz St, Dayton (directions)

When: Opening Wednesday, June 8. The museum will hold a ribbon-cutting event at 9:15 a.m. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force will open its new 224,000-square-foot fourth building on Wednesday, June 8. In the days leading up to the opening, the Dayton Daily News will feature notable aircraft that will be on display in the new building.

In the 1950s, the United States wanted an aircraft that would both be a powerful bomber but also fly higher and faster than the enemy.

Construction began on the B-70 bomber program. When it became clear that defensive ground missiles could reach the more than 77,000 feet the XB-70 could fly and that nuclear missiles were less costly than aircraft dropping bombs, the program was canceled.

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But two XB-70s were built to test the abilities of such large, supersonic aircraft. It has six 28,000-pound thrust engines, allowing it to reach speeds of more than three times the speed of sound, an impressive achievement for the time.

Its futuristic look and massive speed made it a famous aircraft at the time and, since, one of the most popular planes at the Air Force Museum.

"One word to sum it up would be the word exotic," said museum curator Jeff Duford.

The XB-70 Valkyrie that will be on display in the National Museum of the United States Air Force's fourth building, which opens June 8, is the last remaining. The second XB-70 crashed in midair during a test flight in 1966.