Record Breaking Day
By Staff Sgt. Jessica Tope , 43rd Airlift Wing historian
/ Published January 12, 2007
POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Although never located at Pope, the 43rd's legacy is graced by the history of the 43rd Bombardment Wing.
Jan. 12, 1961, a B-58 crew from the 43rd Bombardment Wing set out to break six flight records; five of which the Soviet Union held. The Hustler started out that day with two laps around a course with Edwards AFB, Calif., at one end and Yuma, Ariz., at the other.
The bomber set three speed records over the 1,000-kilometer course with a 2,000 kilogram, 1000 kg, and 0 kg payload. The crew, lead by Maj. Henry J. Deutschendorf Sr., managed an average speed of 1,061.88 mph in each of the payload categories over the 2,000 km course. This flight set the pace for the 43rd with the B-58.
The 43rd Bombardment Wing received the first B-58 in the Air Force inventory
Aug. 1, 1960.
The Convair B-58 Hustler was a high-speed jet bomber capable of Mach 2 supersonic flight.
It is widely known for its sonic boom, which was often heard as it flew overhead during its supersonic flights. Its four General Electric J79-GE-1 turbojet engines were mounted on its delta wing with a leading-edge sweep of 60 degrees.
It seated three people in its tandem cockpits. A crew consisted of a pilot, bombardier/navigator and defensive systems operator. The crews were considered an elite group, handpicked from other strategic bomber squadrons.
Today the 43rd Airlift Wing is wearing blues to honor this accomplishment.