Skip to comments.Sixty years on, the B-52 is still going strong
Posted on 04/15/2012 6:32:45 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
Along with the ICBM, it was one of the defining pieces of military technology during the Cold War: the B-52 bomber.
Those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s knew the B-52 Stratofortress as a central figure in the anxiety that flowed from the protracted staring match between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. On the one hand, it was reassuring to know that the Strategic Air Command was ready at a moment's notice to scramble its B-52s to counter any potential nuclear attack. On the other hand, if the bombers were flying that mission, well, things might well have ended badly for everyone.
But while the nuclear-tinged Cold War has come and, thankfully, gone, the B-52 is still going strong. And this after a half-century of service.
It was 60 years ago today, on April 15, 1952, that a B-52 prototype built by Boeing took off on its maiden flight. The 1950s-vintage B-52s are no longer in the U.S. Air Force inventory, but the 90 or so that remain on active duty (a total of 744 were built, counting all models) aren't that much younger. They're all the H model of the B-52, delivered between May 1961 and October 1962. That means the youngest is on the cusp of its 50th birthday.
That feat of longevity reflects both regular maintenance and timely upgrades -- in the late 1980s, for instance, GPS capabilities were incorporated into the navigation system.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.cnet.com ...
Whoof! Take your breath away. There is a high hill north of NAS/JRB (KNFW) and one airshow, a BUFF rolled through about 100 ft above the hill (and my head) at about .6 mach. Airspace was closed so the speed limit was moot.
I opened my mouth and screamed to try to equalize pressures. I also went home and changed pants. Some frequencies cause involuntary defecation.
Having a B-52 that you never heard show up over your left shoulder moving at 300+ ground speed at 100 ft. doesn't help.
I cleared the hill, and the only bomb dropped was in my shorts.
I lived and worked around Elsworth AFB in South Dakota. We used to watch the Buffs pilots practicing landing and takeoffs. The noise of the motors on the takeoffs were tremendous. We were twenty miles away and the roar was so very loud even at that distance. Then the big plane would circle around to land and pass right over our heads
I hear them, and I know them. And Icget a warm fuzzy.
I always go out and watch them and listen to them on the VHF. They still fly around here sometimes. Makes me feel like a kid.
Makes plenty of sense. They shoulda bought more wings.
Fifteen miles down the Atlanta highway.....
One of the most amazing things about the BUFF ( and I wish I had the expertise to explain it correctly is, I believe it’s called “crabbing”.. its alibilty to land with the wheels parallel to the runway centerline, whereas the plane is as much as 45 degress offset....everytime I see a clip of this, it blows my mind..
The accurate response is some of the B-1Bs were on nuke alert. However, the majority of the fleet was grounded on 20 December 1990 due to disc problems in the F101 and malfunctions of the DAS. Incorporation of and qualification for dropping conventional ordnance had not yet occurred either.
The B-52 has non-standard landing gear with 2 sets of bogies fore and aft, and outrigger retractable wheels in the wing tips.
The main bogies can indeed be steered so that the aircraft can crab into a cross-wind, and yet land with the bogies rolling straight and true.
Which is important, because the sidewall pressure on a crosswind landing is harsh.
That was classified for a LONG time.
Many thanks for the info..I’ll try to find some vids and post the links..
Can you imagine the day when it is still flying and there isn't anyone who was alive on the day they first took flight?
Same story for me, except with B-36s.
I grew up in SE Montana in late 70s / early 80s and once while hiking in the hills outside of town I looked down at a B52 flying radar evasion missions.
A BUFF can do stuff you'd never believe for the type as well. I saw a movie of a guy doing some amazing aerobatics in one at very low airspeed just barely off the ground, till he rolled it too far over and went in. He was rolled like 90 degrees when he did.
I've a friend who was in Nam. He told stories about how he would wake up sometimes because he could feel the ground shake from carpet bombing by what he called Beefers. He said it was strange because sometimes you would feel it before you hear it and sometimes you wouldn't hear it at all but definitely feel it.