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Retrotech: Bill visits the XB-70 Valkyrie

When I was quite young, I remember getting a model kit for my friend on his birthday. We were really into airplanes, the sleeker the better. I remember the artwork on the box, it showed groundcrews in parkas (Alaska, I’m guessing) servicing a sleek white airplane, with another plane like it in the air. That plane was the XB-70 Valkyrie, and with apologies to the SR-71, it was probably the slickest, meanest looking airplane to ever fly. It was certainly the slickest, meanest looking BIG airplane to ever fly.

This aircraft, of which only two were built and only one survives, is well documented by those who have an affinity for it. Rather than add to the redundancy, I have put a link to several sites on this aircraft at the end of this post. What I would like to do here is just share a few images of the surviving aircraft.

In the summer of 2008 our family took a trip through Ohio covering the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, and Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio. You may not believe it from the itinerary, but wifeperson is the one who planned this whole trip!

The three of us each wanted to see a particular aircraft:

I will do another article about the museum itself later, but will give you one tip here. You definitely want to get signed up for the bus trip to visit the Research & Development Aircraft and the Presidential Aircraft hangers. If you really like aircraft, you may want to sign up for the trip twice, once for each hanger. The hangers are adjoined, but your time on-site is only about 45 minutes.

View of the cockpit and canards. You have to back all the way up to the hanger door to take this shot, the aircraft goes from front to back!

View of the cockpit and canards. You have to back all the way up to the hanger door to take this shot, the aircraft goes from front to back!

View from the bottom of the fuselage.

View from the bottom of the fuselage.

The huge inlets feeding the six engines. The aircraft is tall; you cannot reach the bottom of the inlets.

The huge inlets feeding the six engines. The aircraft is tall; you cannot reach the bottom of the inlets.

You cannot see into the nozzles of the six General Electric YJ93-GE-3 afterburning turbojet engines; the aircraft is backed all the way up to the back wall to fit in the hanger!

You cannot see into the nozzles of the six General Electric YJ93-GE-3 afterburning turbojet engines; the aircraft is backed all the way up to the back wall to fit in the hanger! Notice the Ryan X-13 VertiJet in the background.

Aircrew and crewchief names on the portside inlet, along with pitot tube. Major Cross was killed in the crash of the other Valkyrie in his only flight.

Aircrew and crewchief names on the portside inlet, along with pitot tube. Major Cross was killed in the crash of the other Valkyrie in his only flight.

Myself with XB-70. The boxy aircraft in the foreground is the tiltwing XC-142A from the mid-60's.

Myself with XB-70. The boxy aircraft is the tiltwing XC-142A from the mid-60's.

Links for more info on the XB-70 Valkyrie:

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