While the B-36 remained in the USAF fleet until 1959, it was quickly surpassed by the B-47 Stratojet and then the B-52 Stratfortress as the USAF’s strategic long-range bomber. By 1959, the B-36 was no longer in service and the 384 aircraft that were built were sent to the bone yard or museums. In the end, the Peacemaker was the victim of jet age.
The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built (230 ft, 70.1 m), although there have been larger military transports. The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering any of the nuclear weapons in the US arsenal from inside its two bomb bays without aircraft modifications. With a range greater than 9,700 km (6,000 mi) and a maximum payload of 33,000 kg (73,000 lb), the B-36 was the world’s first manned bomber with an unrefueled intercontinental range.
Video: Discovery Wings – Convair B-36 Peacemaker