Very special one-of-a-kind 24 x 36-inch XB-70 AV2 honeycomb steel laminate relic display, by Ron Cole.
Open-framed canvas - signed & numbered one of one.
This big display includes a very large and well-preserved section of exterior honeycomb laminate skin, with original white paint, and red (faded) cockpit window warning stripe. The reverse includes a section of the titanium stiffeners that were used to reinforce the skin of this aircraft. Very rare and unique!
American XB-70 Valkyrie was the fastest and most advanced strategic bomber ever built. By the time it took to the skies in 1964, however, the entire strategic bomber concept had been rendered obsolete by the deployment of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Nevertheless, two XB-70s entered service as advanced test aircraft.
The top speed of the XB-70 (Mach 3+) demanded entirely new materials and construction technologies, such as the so-called ‘honeycomb’ steel and titanium laminate skin; light weight, high strength, and able to sustain and dissipate the high temperatures of Mach 3 flight that would melt aluminum.
On June 8th, 1966, the second-built XB-70 (AV-2), was participating in a low-speed photo shoot with a variety of other aircraft, one of which collided with the XB-70, shearing off the latter’s vertical stabilizers. AV-2 entered a flat spin and tragically crashed into the desert floor.
This rare piece of honeycomb laminate skin from AV-2 was discovered among other components recovered from the crash site. For years, they languished in a scrapyard and were the subject of rumors - and, occasionally, photos - regarding the location. They were finally acquired in the 1980s by noted collector John Murphey. Between 2018 and 2020, Mr. Murphey sold his collection to Ron Cole and Coles Aircraft (including many unique, one-of-a-kind, XB-70 components).
One-of-a-kind and won't last long!
These photos are actual - not virtuals - so they may appear a bit washed-out compared to the actual artwork you'll receive.
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