Startdown: Cool Treads


The B-36 originally was built with ginormous single wheeled landing gear, like over 9 feet diameter tires, which as you might imagine didn’t make for much of a distributed load. The solution ended up being a four wheeled gear system, with the load being spread between the four tires on each main mount. But somewhere in between the two they tried what you see here, a tracked system!

Image via airpigz.

  • skitter

    There is a terrifyingly small amount of material keeping that tread mounted. Who signed off on this thing taking to the air? Who agreed to ride in it? Someone with no concept of side loading when landing in a crosswind? You know how violent it is when a vacuum cleaner throws a belt? When I say belt, just imagine 'pinwheeling tank tread', and when I say vacuum cleaner, just imagine '250,000lb strategic bomber going 120mph'.

    Wikipedia quick dive:
    linked to Wikipedia: Convair B-36
    fork, linked to
    1.National Museum Of The US Air Force, very little comment, but greatly reduces the likelihood this is a hoax.
    2.Earthquake Bomb, uncited quote, 'The officer classes of the RAF at that time (WW2) were often trained not in science or engineering, but in the classics, Roman and Greek history and language.'

    • One explanation is that they appear to have been plowing their way through a lot of grass at the time.