Fascinating video of a B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber’s emergency landing in 1961

Jul 17 2015 - 6 Comments

An interesting documentary about the story of a B-58 Hustler and its landing after 14 hours in the air.

On Sept. 18, 1961 a Convair B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber of the U.S. Air Force SAC (Strategic Air Command) suffered a left main gear failure during take off for a night training mission from Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.

Debris from the landing gear tore a hole in the aft main fuel tank causing 15,000 lbs of fuel being “lit off” by the afterburners as the plane departed the runway (top image).

The damaged landing gear could not be raised (it was hanging at an angle of 45 degrees) and, what is worse, the aircraft was rapidly approaching minimum fuel condition as a consequence of the leak: with the extended landing gear, the aircraft had to refuel from a tanker at 11,000 feet and speed of 300 knots by using all four engines in afterburner mode.

The aircraft repeated the refueling with extended landing gear 8 times during the night before attempting an emergency landing, in daylight conditions, at Edwards Air Force Base (where other aircraft have performed crash landings in the past….)

As the aircraft prepared for landing a chase plane launched to assess the situation was able to confirm that only 3 of 8 wheels were still intact on the left main gear.

Eventually, the crew was able to perform a successful emergency landing after a 14-hour flight that included 8 aerial refuelings!


  • Roland Lawrence

    Wow that is some story and a pretty perfect landing too.

  • A great story – surprised she did not light up like a blow torch on take-off (like the sad fate of the Concorde in Paris) and that the guys did not just punch out. Great airmanship.

  • AronLump

    Can’t wait to watch the video. I still feel the Hustler was the prettiest jet that ever flew.

  • Bennett Willis

    When I was in college, a roommate described watching a B-58 follow the delta wing fighter into a landing–and doing every maneuver that the fighter did. He was impressed.

  • AronLump

    That is an ASTONISHING fear of piloting. And to capture it on film!

  • John Citizen

    Is the American Air Force falling apart? Oh, wait, that was the sub title to yesterday’s piece regarding a Russian Tu-95 crash.