Ginter Books - Air Force Legends: Consolidated Vultee XB46
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The Consolidated Vultee (Convair) XB-46 was a four-jet medium bomber built to a 1944 USAAF requirement. It was the largest of the four different bombers built to this requirement. The other three were the North American XB-45, the Boeing XB-47 and the Martin XB-48. The winner of the competition was the XB-45, but Boeing was allowed to continue development of their offering with swept wings. Because of this only one XB-46 was built. It was to be the first all-pneumatic aircraft built with pneumatics operating the landing gear, brakes, and bomb bay doors. This system was highly successful as it saved a lot of weight and allow the quickest activation of landing gear and bomb bay doors seen to that date. First flight was on 2 April 1947 and the aircraft was utilized until November 1950. The aircraft biggest legacy was its beauty!