Meet the Convair B-58 Hustler
Nice looking plane, isn’t it? Capable of going Mach 2 and designed as a supersonic bomber, the Hustler was only in operational service for a little under a decade: from 1960 through 1970. See that pod under the cockpit and running along the main body? That’s the external bomb bay. And the ‘Hustler’ name? Totally real, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t even ironic. We truly believed this plane would hustle the commies. For reals.
As it was designed for high-altitude penetration attacks, the crew was protected by clamshell-style ejection pods. They could even act as a life raft if required, and that’s awfully swell.
To help with their super spiffy 1950s-era cockpit design, the Convair folks hired an actress of the time to notify the crew of various conditions and changes to the aircraft. How did they store it? On tapes, of course! The folks at Palamar have a copy of these tapes, but they’re in a extra fun flv player:
I extracted these mp3s into a slightly more accessible format:
Wikipedia, of course: