Magnesium Overcast: The Story of the Convair B-36
by David Jenkins
I have spent almost a week reading the Magnesium Overcast, by Dennis R. Jenkins. It is the story of the Convair B-36. But it is far more than a story. It is more accurately described as the defining work on this remarkable bird. Concepts, defining of requirements, engineering, manufacturing, the Air Force experiences, operations, successes and failures, problems, and finally the "Bone Yard". These milestones are all described in a manner which will satisfy former crew members and aircraft afficionados. Many of the photos have never been previously released.
Of particular note, which other books of this type have failed to go into detail, is the discussion of various subsystems attendant to the reconnaissance and bomber configurations. The descriptons are backed up by engineering functional drawings. The author takes you from nose to tail and introduces the reader to these various subsystems . Want to read something that will really hold your attention? Pay particular attention to the discussion of the power plants, the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 and General Electric J-47.
The book is profusely illustrated with photographs which have had their first public airing in this volume. Its size, while not of the coffee table variety, provides for sufficient space to avoid crowding. If you maintained or flew the B-36 in SAC or in the reasearch and development organization, this book, above all, is a must in your library. You will find your bird in this book. All have been identified from asembly line position to their final day. The unique feature is the descriptions of the various operations in which the B-36 participated. It goes hand-in-hand with General Edmunson's famous article "Six turning, Four Burning."
The association is making arrangements to have this book for sale at its PX.
Review by Irv Baum