Convair TB-58A Hustler

Last revised July 1, 2000

The single-pilot configuration of the B-58, along with its high performance and its unusual flight characteristics (in particular, the nose-high landing and takeoff attitudes characteristic of a delta-winged aircraft) led to a requirement for a training version of the Hustler. Instead of building entirely new airframes for this project, it was decided to convert airframes from the original test batch of 30 aircraft to trainer configuration. On February 25, 1959, the Air Force first authorized the conversion of four early test B-58As to the training configuration under the designation TB-58A. New airframes were not The TB-58A program was formally approved on September 15, 1959.

In the TB-58A, the pilot trainee sat in the forward station. The second crew station was modified to accommodate an instructor pilot who was afforded with the necessary flight controls for inflight instruction and safety. This included a set of conventional flight controls which were mechanically linked to those in the front cockpit. The instructor pilot's seat was slightly offset to starboard by ten degrees to permit better forward vision. The third station was usually occupied by a pilot requiring proficiency training.

Externally, the TB-58A differed from the B-58A in having additional transparencies in the second cockpit area (to the side and overhead) to give the instructor pilot sitting in the second crew station with a better view. The instructor's compartment was completely sealed off from that of the student in the front cockpit, although a split transparency permitted forward view. During flight, the occupants of the second and third stations could change places via the crawlspace. All of the tactical equipment was removed--there was no autopilot, no primary navagation system, no bombing system, no defensive electronic countermeasures system, and no active defense system.

The first TB-58A conversion was carried out on 55-670. It was completed in February of 1960. It carried out its first test flight on May 10, 1959. The first TB-58A was delivered to the Air Force in August of 1960. A total of eight TB-58As were eventually created.


  1. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  2. Post World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1988.

  3. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  4. Convair B-58 Hustler: The World's First Supersonic Bomber, Jay Miller, Aerofax, 1997.