Martin XB-51 test flight, 1949
(detail- click for full image)


Caption (Stamped on reverse of original):

FIRST IN-FLIGHT PICTURES OF THE AIR FORCE’S MARTIN XB-51. This is the Air Force’s newest light bomber, the Martin XB-51 during one of its initial test flights. The three-jet bomber made its first flight on October 28, 1949. Built by the Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland, the XB-51 is designed for short range tactical missions in support of ground forces. The new bomber is powered by the three General Electric J-47 engines, two mounted at the lower sides of the fuselage beneath the cockpit, and a third in the tail. Each engine has a rated take-off thrust of more than 5,200 pounds. The XB-51 is the first Air Force three-jet bomber. Both the wings and the tail of the all-metal, mid-wing aircraft are swept back at an angle of 35 degrees and the horizontal tail surfaces are mounted at the top of the vertical stabilizer. The XB-51 is designed to carry a crew of two, and is equipped with cabin pressurization, air conditioning and pilot ejection seats. Approximate dimensions of the aircraft are : Wingspan 55 feet, length, 80 feet, and height, 17 feet. Lateral control is affected by “spoilers” on the upper surface of the wings instead of by conventional ailerons. U.S. Air Force Photo

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