The largest piston-powered airplane ever mass-produced, Convair's B-36 "Peacemaker" was also the world's first thermonuclear bomber. The genesis of this behemoth can be traced to WWII, when U.S. Planners determined that if the British were defeated, a very-long-range bomber would be needed to battle the Nazis. The prototype B-36 flew in 1946 and was quickly upgraded as the need for a bomber with a large lifting capacity - the early fission and later hydrogen bombs were both large and heavy - became paramount. Yet, when it entered active service in 1949, the "aluminum overcast" was already considered obsolete due to its four jet, six Wasp radial engine power-plant configuration. Nevertheless, nearly 400 B-36s were built and flew as strategic deterrents before the plane was retired in 1959. Originally printed by the U.S. Air Force, this Flight Operating Handbook is an authentic reprint of an original. Classified "Restricted", the manual was declassified and is here reprinted in book form. This affordable facsimile has been slightly reformatted. Some color images appear in black and white. Care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the text.