Dragon DRW52003 USAF North American XB-70 Valkyrie Experimental Strategic Bomber - AV-1 Test Flight (1:200 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the proposed B-70 nuclear-armed deep-penetration bomber for the United States Air Force's (USAF) Strategic Air Command. Designed by North American Aviation in the late 1950s, the Valkyrie was a large six-engined aircraft able to fly Mach 3+ at an altitude of 70,000 feet (21,000 m), which would have allowed it to avoid interceptors, the only effective anti-bomber weapon at the time.
The introduction of effective high-altitude surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), the program's high development costs, and changes in the technological environment with the introduction of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)s led to the cancellation of the B-70 program in 1961. Although the proposed fleet of operational B-70 bombers was canceled, two prototype aircraft were built as the XB-70A and used in supersonic test flights from 1964 to 1969. One prototype crashed following a midair collision in 1966; the other is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio.
The Warbirds model is made in 1/200 scale, yet it still measures nearly 290mm long and has a 160mm wingspan. It would look impressive on a desk or other prominent display area. The remarkably streamlined and futuristic shape with its canard surfaces and delta wings is mimicked perfectly in miniature. Details such as panel lines are accurately rendered, and the model also includes the landing gear for an alternative pose. This is a long-awaited X-plane model, and Dragon Warbirds has done the subject proud! Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6-1/4 inches
Length: 11-3/4 inches
Release Date: March 2012
Historical Account: "Area 51" - On June 8th, 1966, XB-70A #2 was in close formation with four other aircraft (an F-4, F-5, T-38, and F-104) for a photoshoot at the behest of General Electric, manufacturer of the engines of all five aircraft. With the photoshoot complete, the F-104 drifted into contact with the XB-70's right wing, flipped over and rolled inverted over the top of the Valkyrie, striking the vertical stabilizers and left wing of the bomber. The F-104 exploded, destroying the Valkyrie's rudders and damaging its left wing. With the loss of both rudders and damage to the wings, the Valkyrie entered an uncontrollable spin and crashed into the ground north of Barstow, California. NASA Chief Test Pilot Joe Walker (F-104 pilot) and Carl Cross (XB-70 co-pilot) were killed. Al White (XB-70 pilot) ejected, sustaining serious injuries, including one arm crushed by the closing clamshell-like escape capsule moments prior to ejection.
The USAF summary report of the accident investigation stated that, given the position of the F-104 relative to the XB-70, the F-104 pilot would not have been able to see the XB-70's wing, except by uncomfortably looking back over his left shoulder. The report said that Walker, piloting the F-104, likely maintained his position by looking at the fuselage of the XB-70, forward of his position. The F-104 was estimated to be 70 ft (21 m) to the side of, and 10 ft (3 m) below, the fuselage of the XB-70. The report concluded that from that position, without appropriate sight cues, Walker was unable to properly perceive his motion relative to the Valkyrie, leading to his aircraft drifting into contact with the XB-70's wing. The accident investigation also pointed to the wake vortex off the XB-70's right wingtip as the reason for the F-104's sudden roll over and into the bomber.
Area 51 radar operator Barnes was monitoring the flight and recording the air traffic at the time of the accident and reports that Walker radioed just before the accident "I'm opposing this mission. It is too turbulent and it has no scientific value." Barnes says the vortex sucked him in. The recording was requested by Bill Houck of NASA and has since disappeared.