The XB-70 is my favorite Air Force aircraft of all time. This image was scanned from an 8x10" black and white photo that was sent in the mid-60's to my buddy Eric D. Olson when he wrote to North American requesting photos of their aircraft.
This was the first XB-70 produced (also known as AV/1 Air Vehicle/1 or Ship 1) and it was rolled out of its hangar at North American's Palmdale, California facility and into the public's view on a bright and sunny May 11th, 1964. The audience was awed by the Valkyrie because of her graceful long neck and air intakes 80 feet long, longer than the length of a SR-71. Unfortunately, the XB-70 program's budget was slashed severely just two months later. Ship 1's initial flight was on September 21, 1965. She reached Mach 3 inflight on October 14, 1965, but suffered some left wing leading edge damage and was limited to Mach 2.7 thereafter.
Ship #2 (#62-0207), with many improvements over Ship #1, made its initial flight on July 17, 1965, and subsequently made numerous flights at sustained Mach 3. It was destroyed by a mid-air collision with a F-104 Starfighter after a photo shoot for General Electric on June 8th, 1966. Joe Walker, a famed X-15 pilot, died when his F-104 got sucked into the XB-70's vertical stabilizers and across the top of the wing. Air Force Major Carl Cross, serving as co-pilot, was killed when the XB-70 crashed north of Barstow, California. Al White, the pilot, was able to eject in the escape pod but the pod's airbag failed to inflate and White endured a 44g impact, lowered to 33g's as his chair broke free of its mountings.
After a few more flights of the remaining Ship 1, the Air Force bowed out of the program leaving NASA to carry on additional research flights on its own. Ship 1 made 33 additional research flights, providing valuable data about high speed flight and conventional landing approaches for a large delta wing aircraft.
Ship #1 made her 82nd and final flight to the Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio on February 4, 1969. She is on public display and still wows the museum's guests.
Span: 105 ft., Length: 185 ft. 10 in. without boom; 192 ft. 2 in. with boom
Height: 30 ft. 9 in., Weight: 534,700 lbs. loaded
Armament: None Engines: Six General Electric YJ-93s of 30,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburner.
Maximum speed 2,056mph (Mach 3.1) at 73,000 ft., cruise speed: 2,000mph (Mach 3.0) at 72,000 ft., range: 4,288 miles, service ceiling: 77,350 ft.
Steven Levin has a great website about the XB-70 Valkyries at http://www.labiker.org/xb70.html
The Air Force Museum website about the XB-70 is at http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/modern_flight/mf37.htm