XB-47 in new speed record | Aviation Week, February 14, 1949

 This quick stop method of the Boeing XF-47, through use of a 30-ft. diameter ribbon parachute, was demonstrated at Andrews Field last week at the end of the record-making flight. These photos, taken earlier, show the sequence: Top, parachute pops out and begins to unfurl while plane still is airborne; center, chute is fully open as plane is about to touch down; lower, snow is scattered as wheels touch. The parachute is stowed internally under the tail of the Stratojet.

A new unofficial transcontinental speed record of three hr. 46 min. has been established by the sweptwing Boeing XB-47 jet bomber. The 624-ton craft covered the 2289 miles from Moses Lake Air Force Base, Wash., to Andrews Air Force Base, near Wash- ington, D. C., at an average speed of 607 mph.

The new record compares with the 4 hr. 13 min. 23 sec. mark set by Col. W. H. Councill in a Lockheed F-80 fighter over the 2470 miles between Long Beach, Calif., and New York City Jan. 26, 1946. Councill averaged 584 mph.

The huge bomber was piloted by Maj. R. E. Schleeh, deputy chief bomber operations, Air Materiel Command, with Maj. J. W. Howell, also attached to AMC, as copilot. Flight was described by the crew as "uneventful" and "routine". Only apparent difficulty was the loss of an air intake bullet, which dropped off No. 3 engine during the landing circle at Andrews Field. The bullet is a sheet-metal cover that smoothes airflow into the intake and covers the engine accessories. 

New Policy-The airplane was the first XB-47, which completed Phase I tests at Moses Lake last fall and is now undergoing Phase II tests by Air Force pilots. Assignment of Maj. Schleeh to the flight follows recent AMC policy to place project officers in the cockpit of the aircraft for which they have been responsible. Maj. Schleeh had only a few brief check flights in the aircraft prior to the takeoff. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics has followed this policy for many years.

The flight was made between 32,000 ft. at the start to 37,000 ft. near its end. The plane was clocked over the Andrews Field tower at 13,500 ft. whence it began its let-down. Maj. Schleeh missed the end of the runway by several yards and touched down in the muddy ground. Shortly thereafter the new 40 ft. ribbon tail parachute was released and blossomed out to decelerate the landing run. The XB-47 touches down at about 130 mph.

About 12,000 gal. fuel were required. The 18 JATO units were not installed in the airplane and a normal jet takeoff was made.

New Suits-Both Majs. Schleeh and Howell were wearing special flying suits under tests by AMC. The suits are very lightweight olive drab nylon and require no under or outer garments. The cabin was pressurized only to an equivalent altitude of 23,000 ft. since complete cabin pressurization tests have not yet been completed. Pilots used oxygen throughout the flight, as well as air conditioning equipment.

Performance of the airplane was the best exhibited in cross-country flight to-date. The plane averaged 648 mph. the first hour of the flight with winds slowing down as the plane continued eastward over a great circle route that passed 20 miles south of Chicago. Previously, the XB-47 had averaged 500 mph. on a Moses Lake-Alamagordo, N. M. flight last fall.

The two XB-47 prototype aircraft are powered by six General Electric J-35 turbojet engines developing 4000 lb. static thrust. but the 10 production B-47A bombers will be powered by General Electric J-47A engines developing 5000 lb. thrust.