Skip to content

Ultimate combination of the Delta Wing and Area Rule — the Convair F-106 Delta Dart

16 November 2012

Ultimate combination of the Delta Wing and Area Rule — the Convair F-106 Delta Dart

Beginning with Monday’s post on the YF-92, then Wednesday’s post on the F-102 Delta Dagger we arrive at today’s post about the F-106 Delta Dart — Convair’s ultimate design marrying two significant late 20th Century aerodynamic concepts, delta wings and Area Rule.

The F-102B was vastly different, mostly internally with regard to structure and engine, from the F-102A it was decided to designate it as the F-106 Delta Dart. Like its ancestor Delta Dagger the Delta Dart possessed a delta wing, a not quite a triangular tail, the triangular canopy as well as internal weapons bays for missiles. The rockets previously carried  by the Delta Dagger had been dropped as the expected enemy bombers were faster and more agile in the 1960s than in the 1950s.

The systems in the aircraft were more sophisticated as well with the aircraft capable of intercepting, attacking and returning to the base area without pilot participation — the pilot needed only for aircraft take-off and landing. Like the Delta Dagger, the normal weapons load of the Delta Dart was a mix of Hughes AIM-4A (radar guided) and AIM-4D (infra-red guided) missiles. Unlike the F-102 the F-106 could launch a nuclear Douglas AIR-2A Genie (a rocket, and so unguided after launch) instead of the F-102’s nuclear missile, the radar guided Hughes AIM-26 Falcon. Interestingly, these nuclear weapons were designed for mission kills, though destroying the bombers would have also been acceptable, with a high neutron density burst. Such a burst was expected to cook off the high explosives of the nuclear weapons carried in the attacking bombers — rendering them useless.

The pointed end of the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, this one on exhibit at the Castle Air Museum, with the IR seeker extended — photo by Joseph May

The Delta Dart’s definitive pinched fuselage, between the intake and vertical stabilizer, is easily seen from this perspective, as part of Area Rule the aft fuselage was also purposely bulged — photo by Joseph May

The F-106 on exhibit in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has a highly unusual story. During air combat maneuvering training the pilot entered an inescapable flat spin and was forced to eject. The aircraft throttle was at the idle setting and the subsequent rebalancing of the aircraft, due to removal of the pilot’s and his supporting mass, incredibly allowed this F-106 to land smoothly on frozen Montana ground with little additional damage. Once on the ground long enough to thaw the surrounding area, since the engine remained at idle, the aircraft slowly advanced along the frozen ground. It was recovered, repaired and redeployed where it continued to be used for interceptor duties — until finding its last home at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which has this fact sheet and photos.

The Convair F-106 Delta Dart at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the F-106 which famously landed without its pilot— photo by Joseph May

Pilots of the F-106 Delta Dart did not enjoy the view but enjoyed its speed well enough — photo by Joseph May

Hughes AIM-4 Falcon missiles were the primary armament of the F-106 — photo by Joseph May

About these ads
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers

%d bloggers like this: