It is no secret that the Cold War was synonymous with covert military operations.
Few people know, for example, that massive US Air Force B-36 intercontinental bombers – referred to as “Peacemakers” – regularly flew mock bombing exercises over major US cities, including San Francisco. It was on one of these training runs that tragedy struck B-36 Bomber 075.
Just before midnight on Feb. 13, 1950, three engines on Bomber 075 caught fire over Vancouver Island. The crew was ordered to jump, and the plane ditched somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Nearly four years later, the wreck of the bomber was found by accident in a remote location in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, three hours’ flying time in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to have crashed. How did it get there?
After years of silence, the United States finally admitted that Bomber 075 had been carrying a Mark IV nuclear bomb. But was the bomb dropped and exploded over the Inside Passage or was it blown up at the aircraft’s resting place in the mountains? In his new book, Lost Nuke: The Last Flight of Bomber 075, Dirk Septer investigates the final hours of Bomber 075 and attempts to unravel the real story behind more than 60 years of secrecy, misdirection and misinformation.
Dirk Septer is an aviation historian and photographer. He was the lead investigator in the television documentary Lost Nuke and has published over 100 articles in aviation magazines in Canada and the UK and for years wrote a regular column called “North of Sixty” in Canadian Aviator. Dirk lives on Cortes Island.