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B-6
Keystone B-6A.jpg
Keystone B-6A of the 1st Bomb Squadron, 9th Bomb Group, Mitchel Field, N.Y.
Role Light bomber
Manufacturer Keystone Aircraft
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 5 Y1B-6 + 39 B-6A
Developed from Keystone B-3

The Keystone B-6 was a biplane bomber developed for the United States Army Air Corps.

Design and developmentEdit

In 1931, the United States Army Air Corps received five working models (Y1B-6s) of the B-6 bomber. The Y1B- designation, as opposed to a YB- designation, indicates funding outside normal fiscal year procurement. Two of these were redesignations of LB-13s; three were re-engined B-3As. The Air Corps placed an order for 39 production models on 28 April 1931, with deliveries between August 1931 and January 1932.[1]

At the same time, an order was placed for 25 B-4As, the same aircraft but mounting Pratt & Whitney engines instead of Wright Cyclones. Despite their lower sequence number, the B-4As would be delivered last. These were the last canvas-and-wood biplane bombers ordered by the Air Corps.

The performance of the B-6A varied little from the Martin NBS-1 ordered in 1921. Its successor, the monoplane bomber, had a hard time getting accepted. The Douglas Y1B-7 and Fokker XB-8 were originally designed as high-speed reconnaissance aircraft.[1]

Operational historyEdit

Keystone B-6 twin-engine airmail plane in snow storm, 1920

Keystone B-6 airmail plane in snow storm, 1934

The B-6A together with B-5A were front line bombers of the United States for the period between 1930 and 1934. Afterwards, they remained in service primarily as observation aircraft until the early 1940s.

B-6 aircraft were used, along with many other Army Air Corps planes, as mail planes in what became the Air Mail scandal of 1934.

On December 27, 1935, six B-6 bombers of the 23rd Bomb Squadron based in Hawaii dropped bombs to divert lava flow from the volcano Mauna Loa away from the port of Hilo.

VariantsEdit

LB-13
Seven aircraft ordered but delivered as the Y1B-4 and Y1B-6 with different engine installations.
Y1B-4
Powered by two 525hp P&W R-1860 Hornet radial engines.
Y1B-6
Two pre-production aircraft and three converted B-3As, as the LB-10 but with two 575 hp (429 kW) Wright R-1820-1 engines.
B-6A
Production version of the Y1B-6, 39 built.

OperatorsEdit

US flag 48 stars.svg United States

Specifications (B-6A)Edit

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5
  • Length: 48 ft 10 in (14.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 74 ft 8 in (22.8 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 9 in (4.8 m)
  • Wing area: 1,145 ft² (106.4 m²)
  • Empty weight: 8,057 lb (3,665 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 13,350 lb (6,056 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: lb (kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820-1 radial engines, 575 hp (429 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 120 mph (100 kn, 190 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 103 mph (89 kn, 166 km/h)
  • Range: 825 mi (717 nmi, 1,330 km)
  • Service ceiling: 14,100 ft (6,400 m)
  • Wing loading: 11.66 lb/ft² (56.92 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.0861 hp/lb (142 W/kg)</ul>Armament
  • Guns: 3 × .30 in (7.62 mm) Browning machine guns
  • Bombs: 2,500 lb (1,100 kg); 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) on short runs
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See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. 1.0 1.1 Baugher, Joe. "Keystone B-6." American Military Aircraft, 11 July 1999. Retrieved: 29 July 2011.
Bibliography
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External linksEdit

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