First Jet Transatlantic Crossing / Declassified Documents
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Thread: First Jet Transatlantic Crossing / Declassified Documents

  1. #1

    First Jet Transatlantic Crossing / Declassified Documents

    Aviation history records that on 7-14-48, a flight of six de Havilland Vampires of 54 Squadron RAF flew from Stornaway Scotland by way of Keflavic and Goose Bay to Montreal. History also shows that on 2-21-51, an RAF English Electric Canberra B MK 2 flew from Aldergrove Ireland and landed at Gander Newfoundland flying almost 1800nm non-stop.

    Recently declassified documents show that these two flights were not record setting.

    The Convair XB-46 prototype was the first jet to cross the Atlantic and non-stop as well and beat the Vampires by a year.

    Convair was anxious to sell the capability of their new jet bomber in hopes of going into production ahead of the Martin XB-48 and North American XB-45. After a couple of months of flight testing, Convair management decided to push the new jet as far as it could go with a showcase transatlantic crossing.

    On July 4th, 1947, the XB-46 roared down the runway at Limestone Army Air Base in Maine (Later Loring AFB) and headed towards Europe. 7:19:18 hours later, she touched down in the gloom at RAF St. Mawgan covering 2428.9nm.

    The success was only a temporary triumph unfortunately. The Air Force was already sold on the XB-45 and was making plans to put in into production.

    Undeterred, the Convair engineers pressed on with test flights but soon realized it was a losing battle. Despite the upside, the XB-46 program was officially cancelled in August 1947 and the slender bomber was eventually scrapped in 1952.

    Sadly the record setting flight was kept secret and any mention of it was quickly squashed. The Government later pushed through the XB-36 program as a way of making up for Convair’s lost publicity.


    A few declassified photos:

    Photo taken from P-51 chase plane shortly after takeoff.



    Photo of the XB-46 on short final.



    On the ramp at RAF St. Mawgan the day after the flight.



    Flight tracking evidence that the flight was flown in real time and real weather:




  2. #2
    Thanks for great and very educational history lesson All the time I thought it was Comet or 707 that made first jet transatlantic crossing!

    Regards,

    Aharon

  3. #3
    Charter Member 2017 srgalahad's Avatar
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    Rumour has it that various farmers in Cornwall were able to use sections of the fuselage as chicken coops when the aircraft was parted-out after the USAF and Convair determined that there was no way to fly it back across the Atlantic against the prevailing winds.

    "To some the sky is the limit. To others it is home" anon.
    “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein


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