The model airplane collection at the American Treasure Tour Museum is unparalleled, with almost three hundred different planes of all shapes and sizes displayed suspended from the ceiling. There's one plane that definitely catches the eye of many of our guests on the tram tour - that is a large silver plane notable for having six propeller-driven engines on the wings. It represents the “Peacemaker,” the Convair B-36, and it was the largest mass-produced piston-engined aircraft ever built, in production exclusively for the United States Air Force between 1949 and 1959 (only two years after the Air Force became its own branch of the U.S. military). It also had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built, at 230 feet long from end-to-end. Its sheer size gave it advantages, including four bomb bay doors that allowed it to deliver any nuclear weapon in the U.S. military arsenal without having to make modifications, and that it had the ability to make non-stop intercontinental flights because it had the space to store the necessary fuel for the trek.
The development of the Peacemaker began in 1941. At the time, Great Britain was getting decimated by the German Luftwaffe during the Blitz. America had not yet officially gotten into the war, but they saw an English defeat as quite possible, so they wanted to design a bomber that could reach Europe from the United States without the need to refuel along the way. Of course, it wasn’t needed to save Europe, but the military then wanted it for the fight against Japan. Again, it wasn’t ready. So what was to happen??? Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog.