Convair Model 58-9 SST concept
'B-58 Week' at AirPigz.com will be over soon, but there's still several posts yet to come:
The first flight of the B-58 was in late 1956, and the airplane went operational with the USAF in 1960. This first-ever supersonic bomber was expensive, complicated, and somewhat difficult to fly, but it was also a very successful hot rod in the rapidly expanding world of supersonic flight. This put Convair in a unique position of having a proven basic design philosophy that could easily(?) be manipulated into creating a supersonic platform capable of carrying passengers.
As these images show, the Convair 58-9 was a derivative of the B-58, with an extended fuselage and an added horizontal tail. The smallish cross section would only allow for a 1+1 seating configuration for 52 passengers, and it would have likely been pretty cramped even then. Imagine sitting in that last row looking up thru a really skinny aluminum tube! But, a machine that could move your body at Mach 2 in the early 60’s would have been off-the-scale cool even if it was claustrophobic.
It’s interesting to see that the concept clipped the wingtips and then added those straky winglets shooting out of the nacelles. I gotta say that’s one of the sharpest looking design details ever! Those outboard engines might have been one of the biggest drawbacks to the concept since there had been some serious troubles encountered on the B-58 when one of them would suddenly lose power for any reason while at supersonic speeds.
It appears that Convair had visions of using the 58-9 with the USAF to haul people, and for commercial airline use. Most likely tho, the number of hurdles facing the concept from an engineering and operational standpoint, plus the overall comfort for the passengers both physically and emotionally pretty much meant that this was an airplane with nowhere to go. The project never really got started, but it sure is great to be able to see from these images some of the ideas that were bouncing around the halls at Convair : )