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XB-70 Valkyrie, who remembers?

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posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 03:41 AM
As a child, 35 years ago I had a model of the North American XB-70 aircraft. I was entranced by its "futuristic" look of the bomber that never got buillt.
So any way, in a recent thread, this strangely pointy and akward looking aircraft was mentioned, and I was reminded of something that happened a couple of years ago. While stopping by visit a friend, I was introduced to an family friend of his. The son of a friend of my friends father, whew thats complicated, that was visting while moving to another state.
While we all sat around and had a pint, I noticed that he had brought a couple of boxes of photos in from the truck, it was really foggy at the time.
What really caught my eye was the picture of the XB-70 on top, I commented on how I thought that it was one of the most interesting aircraft ever built.
Well , he says "Really? not too many people remember that plane." I told him about how I was enthralled by it as a child. My friend and him kinda look at each other like they know something, and he looks at me and says, " My father was one of the pilots that flew those aircraft.".
I did one of those shake your head kinda things while, that thought sets in and takes hold, "his dad flew an xb-70, DAMMMM". He told me about how his father was a test pilot and had a lot of personal family momentos, that backed up his claim. Pictures of him and his father, and pics of his father with famous test pilots and such. After chewing the fat for a while, he looks at me and says" you know it didnt crash".
"what didnt crash?", I had no idea what he was talking about.
"The XB-70, didnt crash" . Although I knew a little about the aircraft I had no idea that one had crashed. I just figured that it never got built, because of improved missle technology. He said that the one involved in the accident didnt actually crash, and that the event was "doctored up" to give the appearance that the aircraft in question crashed. Now I wish that hadnt paid so much attention to the guiness as they relived old times, earlier in the evening. But what I do remember of his tale is that, the actual wreck site was, a prototype mock up or something, and the real plane landed. Since the project was already dead at this point, the accident was used as a cover to take the aircraft project black, and that one of the pilots went with it. The one that was killed?
It was a pretty interesting tale, and I'd had 2-3 pints of guiness by now, and thought to myself, "thats a pretty interesting tale" and filed it away amongst all of the clutter and cobwebs at the far reaches of my memory.
Until I read that thread and I decided to re-aquaint myself with the XB-70.
Then it hit me, its a wave rider, sound familiar?
I also learned at one time it used an engine that ran on a boron slurry. I heard of this before, at least 20 years ago I read an article in an Industry journal on how one of the competitors for the a stealth cruise missle used an engine that ran on a boron slurry. It had an extremely low exhaust temp, like in the 70-80 deg range, so that in most environments its ir signature would be minimal.
So, did the XB-70 go "black" and give rise to subsequent generations of technologies. One being "Aurora" , take a XB-70 and give it 15-20 years worth of refinement with modern aerodynamic, propulsion and RCS reduction theory, and what have you got, a super/hypersonic aircraft that uses unique fuels, has low observability ,and most of all uses the principle of "wave riding" to generate lift at very high altitudes where normal wings fail. It is Aurora, or what ever aircraft will finally come of this decades long continual development, of successive generations of aircraft that wll never see the light of day.
Think about it, the B-2 was the last really big aircraft to come out of the "secret programs", and the tough design work was done on those years ago. I went to school with people who worked on the B-2 as engineers, right out of college, and were unemployed by the time our 10 year class re-union rolled around . And that was fifteen years ago so what have the "Plant 42's" and Dreamland's been up to these few past years.
You know they stopped using boron as a fuel because, its exhaust has a solid component to, and the boron/whatever exhaust was too abrasive foe engine part. In the late 40's or early 50's there were UFO reports from Italy and other places, that said the UFO's left behind "angel hair". A compound that when anylized turned out to be boro compounds. HMMM boron exhaust compound years before the GE engineers come up with it.

So what do you'all think?

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 03:48 AM
As far as this person who related this storys background, it seemd like he was on the level. He had a truck full fo stuff just like he was moving. And he had pictures of him and his father and his father in uniform with other test pilots, I dont think he was one of the pilots that was fyling that day.
If he was full of it, the I got to hand it to him for effort and originality.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 08:01 AM
Its all very interesting but I think a quick way to check this is to find out what the Morck-ups construction was out of and then why is there parts that are found still by people like Shadowhawk that can be traced back to the 2nd XB-70 at the crash site etc. I'm not saying that its impossible but the amount of work and number of people that would of needed to been mislead and forced out of the project inorder to become black wow it would of been harder then a Roswell cover up (if it happened just an example) becuase with that at least people can be called crazy for seeing a UFO but a existing plane is another thing. Also there was only 4 test pilots for the programe.
The crash involed Nasas Joe Walker flying the F-104 that crashed into the "XB-70" and the co-pilot in the 70 which was was Airforce major Carl Cross. The pilot at the time was Al White. The other two man crew that flew the XB-70 was Colonel Joe Cotton and there was one other person being trained for flying the XB-70 but the name escapes me im sure someone will be able to give it to you.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 08:30 AM
OK, first, people...paragraphs are your friend!

I checked the videos available and was reminded that they don't actually show the collision.

Since there were three chase planes in the video, it's bizarre that they didn't get footage. The documentary uses a graphic illustration to show the supposed collision, and then you see a flame out of the F-104, allegedly.

I suppose if you really wanted to dig into it you'd try and discover what happened to the Starfighter pilot. If he survived and then was not demoted, it might lend some credence.

Isn't it surprising that they'd let some pilot's son in on the info? Maybe it wasn't that closely guarded except to vet the story to the public.

However it seems like an extreme measure to take. Going black isn't so difficult that you'd have to stage a crash and make a mockery of some pilot's career by blaming him for something that didn't happen.

They'd just say 'we're phasing out the project in favor of missiles' or something to that effect.

Still, thanks for sharing your story!

[edit on 30-11-2007 by Badge01]

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 08:36 AM
reply to post by Badge01

Found a site with some nice images badge that hopefully will help you out.

Also found Pete's site and the story of the hunt for the site and a number of photos of larger components.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 08:57 AM
This story has some strangeness to it! I keep hearing the Twilight Zone music going off in my head now too

Seriously though, let's research this a bit more to see what we can come up with. The Valkyrie project was and still is shrouded in unclear details and seems to have disappeared nearly as fast as it appeared.

No doubt one of THE most incredible aircraft ever made, but then's over?? Seems strange, but then again the power of the dollar and the government make odd things happen at times. I will continue to watch and see what hapens with this thread, good start!

To the OP, is there any more details of this gentleman that would add any credibility to the story?? As pointed out before, it is very enticing, but why??? As written above, it would have been much more simple to just stop the program and take it into the "Black" or R & D.

Peace and some thoughts, Mondo

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 09:08 AM
reply to post by Mondogiwa

Well i think part of what makes it sureal is the fact that they killed off 2 of their best test pilots to make this black project possible. If they wanted to make the plane go black they would still have wanted to use both fo the airframes. Or would they send off XB-70 111 to do test flights as a cover etc and then use 222 for the black project is interesting "idea".

The imagination can come up with any 100 of ways to have done this but this is in hindsight and also the fact that they killed 2 pilots to do it is a little hard for me to believe but people who naturally don't trust the goverment wont have any trouble doing that.

[edit on 22/08/06 by Canada_EH]

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 09:13 AM

Originally posted by punkinworks
Well , he says "Really? not too many people remember that plane." I told him about how I was enthralled by it as a child. My friend and him kinda look at each other like they know something, and he looks at me and says, " My father was one of the pilots that flew those aircraft.".
I did one of those shake your head kinda things while, that thought sets in and takes hold, "his dad flew an xb-70, DAMMMM". He told me about how his father was a test pilot and had a lot of personal family momentos, that backed up his claim.

I think this section here is the key point. "those aircraft" mean that yes he was a test pilot but a number of airplanes. The way you describe it makes it sound as if you have made the assumption that his dad flew the XB-70 not impossible but as you quote its not what he said. If he came striaght out and said his dad did can you just make this clear?
Thanks EH

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 09:37 AM
reply to post by Canada_EH

Hey Canada, how's it going?

I feel you there, yeah it is hard to believe to me also. However, truth is usually stranger than fiction right? Anyway, it is a neat story and I agree that it seems out there too...but why would this all come up?

Still waiting for any more info from the OP as to the credibility of the guy who through the story out. I did just visit the videos and websites that were given in this thread and man, that was a wicked looking aircraft.....especially back then!

Til we get more info, Peace...Mondo out (Shattered's motto

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 11:27 AM
That flight was for a photo shoot of airplanes with GE engines.

Joe Walker was unhappy with the photo shoot and made it clear he thought it was too dangerous just for some photos for a GE brochure.

Clay Lacy was flying the camera ship which was Learjet 1965L which he owned with Al Paulson.

As Clay's cameraman was shooting out the right passenger window Walker gets too close to the B-70's right wing. He apparently was not aware of the tremendous wingtip votices and it flipped Joe's F-104 upside down and to the left cutting off both vertical fins of the B-70.

The B-70 went into a flat spin.

Clay followed the B-70 down while the camera guy shot the photos of its final plunge. These pictures appeared in Life Magazine that week. You can see the wingtip of Clays Learjet Model 23 1965L in one photo on the right.

I was at work that day June 8, 1966 with Flying Tigers who had just moved from Burbank to LAX.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by johnlear


What do you think of the possibility of it all being staged? Why and for what could it be done for when there are so many easier ways to take a project back in Black!

Peace, Mondo

P.S. what were the engines in the Learjet?

[edit on 30-11-2007 by Mondogiwa]

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 11:55 AM
reply to post by johnlear

Yo John! Thanks for chimeing in on this cool thread!

To your knowledge, did any of the participants get dingged, sanctioned or lose a rank for that faux pas?

Looking for anything to substantiate the claim that it was a set up to allow the XB-70 to go black.

I'm not clear if the people involved were all killed or not.

Always good to see your input in aviation threads. Edit: starred you, good buddy!

patefacio toxica egalitarianism there are two misspellings in this post

[edit on 30-11-2007 by Badge01]

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Mondogiwa


What do you think of the possibility of it all being staged?

I would say no. But, stranger things have happened.

Why and for what could it be done for when there are so many easier ways to take a project back in Black!

I agree.

P.S. what were the engines in the Learjet?

The 23's, 24's and 25's had CJ-610's. The 35 and 36 had Garrett 731's. I haven't kept up on the new ones.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:05 PM

Thanks for your thoughts! I thought it maybe ironic if the photo aircraft for the chase and Valkyrie aircraft actually did not have GE engines..sorta my sense of humor I guess!

Anyway, yeah...just seems like a lot of hoops to jump through that would have not been needed, but when the military and money are involved.......strange events can happen!

P.S. Ever been to Pt. Mugu, I was stationed there with VX 4?

Peace, Mondo

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:06 PM
The XB-70 was cancelled because the Soviets had decided 5-10 years earlier to begin massive investments into SAM technology. Specifically, the appearance of the SA-5 "Gammon" system represented a huge threat to the XB-70.

The relative low cost of a few SAMs versus the tremendous cost of a single XB-70 made the cost and risk analsis fairly simple to interpret. Not to mention that the XB-70 had the radar cross section of Rodan........


posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:26 PM
Thank you JL for the link to the photo sequence, it's pretty hard to dispute that chain of photographic evidence. The 2nd XB-70 did crash.

It looks like the guy has woven a pretty complicated fantasy.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:43 PM
The way the story was related to me was that the accident wasnt planned, it just happend.
Its obvious that the b-70 did crash, maybe what he was trying to say was that even though the proram was officially cancelled, work didnt stop on it.
Over a Billion dolllars was put into the xb-70 program, it would be hard to just let go of that much cutting edge work.
If the bosses tell you to stop working on something and you dont wont to, move it to the secret world of black aircraft, and you dont have to justify your expenses anymore. You never have to produce a final product, just ever advanced generations of aircraft that perpetuate the "secret engineering world".
Think about it, of all of our current combat aircraft how many came out of the super secret programs, just the F-117 and B-2.
There are doumentaries about the development of the the F-35 and F22's, hardly super secret.
And people who have worked on those projects said that there were other things going on in dreamland ,skunkworks and plant 42, they were not privy to.

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 12:56 PM
Originally posted by Mondogiwa


Thanks for your thoughts! I thought it maybe ironic if the photo aircraft for the chase and Valkyrie aircraft actually did not have GE engines..sorta my sense of humor I guess!

Yeah, the CJ-610's were General Electrics.

P.S. Ever been to Pt. Mugu, I was stationed there with VX 4?


posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 05:39 PM
The number two XB-70 most definitely crashed. It was not staged. It was a horrible tragedy that took two lives, ruined several careers, and cost the Air Force and NASA a valuable research asset.

I have never found any information to suggest that NASA pilot Joe Walker objected to the flight. He was apparently a willing participant since he didn't have to be there. No one ordered him to join the formation and he was not even flying chase for the test mission just prior to the photo op.

There were, of course, numerous witnesses to the event. Many of those on the Learjet had cameras, but the motion picture session had just ended when the accident occurred. The still photographers got many good shots, but it took a few moments for the shock to wear off before the motion picture photographer pointed his camera back out the window. He got some footage of the tumbling bomber and the burning wreckage after impact.

Physical evidence at the crash site makes it clear that it was the second XB-70 air vehicle and not a mock-up. Evidence at the F-104 crash site is a sobering reminder that this was a very real and tragic event.

President Dwight Eisenhower began to doubt the need for the B-70 program, concluding that the bomber made very little military sense, especially in view of the new intercontinental ballistic missiles that were just beginning to enter service. At the same time there was growing interest in an American supersonic transport (SST) with commercial applications. NASA had several SST studies underway that would benefit from data provided by the XB-70 test program. After John F. Kennedy succeeded Eisenhower, he found that a feared U.S.-Soviet "missile gap" did not actually exist and that Soviet capabilities had been grossly exaggerated during the heat of the presidential campaign. On March 28, 1961, he directed that the B-70 program be reoriented toward research and development. Ultimately plans for B-70 production were cancelled except for three XB-70 prototypes. Only two were completed. Parts for the third were later scrapped.

In the spring of 1966, John M. Fritz, chief test pilot for General Electric, set a chain of events in motion when he requested permission from a North American Aviation representative for a publicity photo session involving a formation flight of five airplanes powered by GE engines. Subsequently, XB-70 test director Col. Joe Cotton agreed to provide such an opportunity on a non-interference basis following a regularly scheduled test flight. A North American official disapproved the photo session, citing a tight schedule, but Cotton and Fritz lobbied to include it immediately following an upcoming test mission. Both North American and Cotton’s immediate supervisors, Col. Albert Cate and John McCollom, finally approved the photo opportunity. No further approval, however, was sought from higher headquarters.

Cotton arranged to include an Air Force T-38, a chase aircraft that normally accompanied the XB-70, and Fritz requested a Navy F-4B from Point Mugu Naval Air Station. It was authorized as a routine training flight in support of what was assumed to be an approved Air Force mission. Fritz himself piloted a YF-5A, bailed to General Electric by the Air Force. Although his officially stated purpose for the flight was to “perform engine airstart evaluations,” he never actually did this. He also tried to arrange for a B-58 to join the formation, and for supplementary Air Force photo coverage, but was unsuccessful. General Electric officials contracted with Clay Lacy for use of a Learjet photo plane. Cotton supported Fritz in a request for a NASA F-104. As chief pilot at the Flight Research Center, Joe Walker was within his authority to schedule the chase operation, but his superiors were not aware of the photographic mission.
An Air Force public affairs officer in Los Angeles learned of the photo opportunity just two days before the flight through a call from a commercial photographer. He referred the caller to Col. James G. Smith, chief of public affairs at Edwards. Smith had also been unaware of the planned formation flight, but voiced no objections once he ascertained that Col. Cate had approved the mission.

On 8 June 1966, Al White and Maj. Carl S. Cross made subsonic airspeed calibration runs and one supersonic test with the XB-70. Afterward, they were scheduled to rendezvous with the other planes for the photo session. Rendezvous began at 0827 hours with the aircraft arranged in a V-formation. The Learjet, piloted by Lacy was positioned about 600 feet to the left of the formation. The photo session lasted from 0845 to 0925. Suddenly, at 0926, the F-104 collided with the Valkyrie’s right wingtip. The F-104 pitched upward from its position in the formation, tearing through the XB-70’s right wingtip. From there, the F-104 rolled inverted as it passed across the top of the XB-70, shearing off both of the ship's large vertical tails. By this point, the F-104 was in several large pieces and trailing a ball of fire from its ruptured fuel tanks.

After some difficulty, Al White ejected in his escape capsule. Maj. Carl Cross, possibly incapacitated by extreme g-forces, was less fortunate. Additionally, a seat retraction mechanism failed, making automatic encapsulation impossible. He remained trapped in the stricken jet and died when it struck the ground.

An accident investigation board determined that the horizontal tail of the F-104 had come up under the wingtip of the XB-70 and was caught in the wingtip vortex from the bomber. The F-104 lost its trim and pitched up violently, rolling inverted across the top of the bomber. The board concluded that the swirling wake vortex only became a contributory factor in the accident after the F-104’s tail was so close to the XB-70 that a collision was imminent.

During the course of the flight, ground controllers had alerted the formation to the presence of other air traffic in the area. Shortly before the collision, traffic controllers at Edwards reported a B-58 approaching the formation. It was on a course to pass high above, in the supersonic corridor, and wouldn’t pose a hazard. Several pilots in the formation responded that they could see the B-58’s contrail. Walker never made such a call. He may have been attempting to spot the B-58 at the time his aircraft collided with the XB-70.

The investigation board concluded that Walker’s position relative to the XB-70 left him with no good visual reference points for judging his distance. Therefore, a gradual movement in any direction would not have been noticeable to him. The board blamed an “inadvertent movement” of the F-104 that placed it in a position such that “contact was inevitable.”

The length of the precision formation mission may have also been a factor. Cloudy weather had extended the flight time and forced the formation to move to a different area than originally planned. Walker had been flying close to the bomber’s wing, in a position that made it difficult to judge his distance and other air traffic in the area created distractions. As a result, two lives were lost.

Others suffered the consequences for their role in organizing, planning, and approving the flight. The investigation board ruled that Col. Smith should have advised the responsible parties of proper procedures for approving such a mission through higher headquarters. A memorandum, dated 12 August 1966, from Air Force Secretary Harold Brown to the Secretary of Defense concluded:

“The photographic mission would not have occurred if Col. Cotton had refused the General Electric request or at least nor at least not caused North American to reconsider its reluctance. It would not have occurred if Col. Cate had taken a more limited view of his own approval authority. It would not have occurred if Col. Smith had advised of the need for higher approval. It would not have occurred if Mr. McCollom had exercised the power he personally possessed to stop it."

posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 07:15 PM
So GE is to blame huh?

All for publicity... a few good men died that day. I don't think the photos were worth it.

Shattered OUT...

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