This third edition of B-36: Saving the Last Peacemaker continues a detailed history of the last B-36 built by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas with newly-discovered information added to chapters throughout the book plus detailed descriptions of events that have affected the aircraft since the second edition was released.
Over a span of forty-seven years since the Last B-36 retired from service in the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command, the aircraft has been in the care of no less than eight different entities, each of which was totally dedicated to the preservation of the aircraft that is recognized as a national treasure and an icon of Fort Worth. This extensively revised and expanded third edition reveals the activities and motivations of each of those groups and the people who made them function. Much in-depth research, combined with personal interviews of people who participated in the aircraft's history, has resulted in this extensively-updated edition.
The early history of the Last B-36 has been updated with additional photographs of its delivery to the Air Force, its first crewmembers, its service with the 92nd and 95th bombardment wings and the aircraft's retirement in 1959. Also included in this section are audio and video clips which will be of interest to historians and aircraft modelers.
Corporate records and correspondence files of the Peacemaker Foundation have been located since the Second Edition was released. Peacemaker Foundation, led by former Convair aeronautical engineer Sam Ball, conducted the first of three confrontations with the Air Force concerning control and possible flight of the Last B-36. Extensive reporting of that first confrontation, edited by Mr. Ball himself, is included in this new release. Two subsequent confrontations are also fully described and serve to explain why the Air Force ultimately removed the Last B-36 from its home town.
Detailed photographs made during the first two relocations of the B-36 could serve as a "do it yourself" manual for disassembling and reassembling the giant bomber. Once assembled, the Last B-36 was displayed to the public adjacent to Carswell Air Force Base at the Southwest Aerospace Museum for several years. When Carswell closed, the B-36 was reassigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base. The reassignment resulted in yet another confrontation with the Air Force Museum. This second confrontation is also thoroughly described and documented in the book.
After the Air Force Museum agreed to leave the Last B-36 in Fort Worth, the aircraft received a meticulous restoration by former Convair and 7th Bomb Wing retirees. Several years after the aircraft's restoration, a plan to build a museum for the B-36 failed and caused a rift between the restoration team and the museum's planners. All of these events are described and documented by media reports, photographs and first-hand interviews.
In January of 2003 the Last B-36 was moved from its protective hangar at Lockheed Martin's plant to make room for the new Joint Strike Fighter program. The B-36 was moved to a remote storage lot where it was protected from the elements only by tarpaulins. The restoration team volunteers then formed a museum development company with hopes of displaying the airplane at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base. City politics soon delayed these efforts and resulted in evaluation of alternate display sites.
When application was made to the Air Force Museum for loan of the B-36, the Air Force Museum denied the application and transferred the B-36 to Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. This action resulted in a third confrontation with the Air Force Museum for custody of the Last B-36. All details of this final confrontation are included in the Third Edition.
In the fall of 2005, Fort Worth lost its B-36 - an event that could easily be interpreted as the result of a series of failures. In retrospect, the various groups that worked to preserve the aircraft must be credited with a series of successes. Thanks to all of its dedicated caretakers, the Last B-36 has survived political struggles and civic indifferences to emerge as a fully restored and historically significant treasure - a treasure that will endure long after those who preserved it are gone forever.
Diligent care to be objective and non-judgmental of all persons and groups guided this book's production. All events described are based on military, public and corporate records, media reports and personal interviews. Many of the actual participants provided photos and interviews which are included in this chronology of saving the Last B-36.
B-36: SAVING THE LAST PEACEMAKER Third Edition. © Copyright 2006 by G.D. PYEATT. All rights reserved. Made in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except for brief quotations used in critical reviews or articles. For information contact publisher: ProWeb Fort Worth, (817) 576-3008. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org