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Posted: 11/28/2001 7:32:17 AM EDT
Los Angeles Times: B-52 Bomber Turns 50 [url]http://latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-b-52-turns-501128nov28.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dnation%2Dheadlines[/url] B-52 Bomber Turns 50 By GENE JOHNSON Associated Press Writer November 28 2001, 2:37 AM PST SEATTLE -- When Guy Townsend took the B-52 bomber on its first test flight nearly 50 years ago, he knew it was well-designed. But he never imagined it would still be in use today. "Never. None of us ever dreamed the airplane would stay in service this long," Townsend, 81, said Tuesday. "Three generations have flown the B-52. By the time it's retired we ought to have two more generations." The plane is now being used in Afghanistan after seeing service during the Vietnam and Gulf wars. The B-52 has never been used for its initial potential: dropping hydrogen bombs on a cold war enemy. But the Air Force has found other reasons to keep it around -- for conventional bombing, photographic reconnaissance and launching missiles. It was on Nov. 29, 1951, that the first prototype of the B-52 emerged from Boeing's south Seattle plant, under cover of night and a huge tarp. The tail fin was folded down to help conceal the plane's radical, eight-engine, swept-wing design. That prototype was damaged during testing and never flew, but it was followed by a second prototype on March 15, 1952, and the maiden flight came a month later. In the first photographs released to the press, its landing gear was airbrushed out to hide its configuration. In all, eight models of the B-52 were built over the next decade, a total of 744 planes. About 100 H models remain in service. The Air Force says it may retain them until 2040. The 390,000-pound plane has a 185-foot wingspan and can carry a crew of five at speeds up to 650 mph. It can fly as high as 50,000 feet or as low as 200. In a fast-changing world of laser-guided missiles and stealth bombers, the plane's longevity is like something out of a much older arsenal, such as the catapult. It has outlasted several other bombers, including the North American B-70 Valkyrie. "It was a design that had a lot of growth potential," said Al Lloyd, a Strategic Air Command historian and former Air Force officer who works for Boeing. "It was designed to carry nuclear weapons, but it grew as the threat changed, as far as what kind of weapons they could put on it and what kind of electronics can be put on it." Townsend, who went on to become a brigadier general, agreed.
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 7:33:03 AM EDT
We used to have a big, open flight deck," he said. "That's all full of equipment now. It's doing a beautiful job." Others have been less enthusiastic about the bomber's use. During the Vietnam War, it was reviled by the peace movement as an indiscriminate killer. Since the 1980s, the B-52s have been upgraded with improved electronics, environmental controls, autopilots, radar and the capability to launch cruise and short-range missiles. Boeing has suggested replacing the eight engines with four more powerful ones, such as those used on the Boeing 757. ___ On the Net: Boeing: www.boeing.com Copyright 2001 Associated Press
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 7:38:12 AM EDT
Excellent anniversary. IIRC the airplane itself weighs about 180,000 pounds. With people, bombs & fuel, the G-models can take off at up to 488,000 pounds. I believe H's can go to 512,000. Great fun.
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 7:51:48 AM EDT
[bday] Celebrate their birthday with some 2000lb fireworks.
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 7:57:01 AM EDT
[bday] [beer] [bday]
Link Posted: 11/28/2001 9:38:35 AM EDT
COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!!!!! Does that make it Curio and Relic Eligable??
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 12:11:39 AM EDT
My personal B-52H was #61-0024, she was a cutie at 167,500 lbs empty, add up to 312,000 pounds of fuel and up to 52,000 pounds of expendables(including various mounting systems/pylons and hangers ordnance totals can be nearly 100,000 pounds. Not to exceed a max. gross take-off of 512,000 pounds. Airshow weight was 45,000pounds of fuel or less and nothing else for a gross of 212,000 with about 176,000 pounds of max thrust. It could haul ass. Sadly, it was crashed in 1993, a year after I finished my strech as a crew chief. The current fleet of B52H's were all built in 1960 and 61. You are hard pressed to find guys older than that, currently working on them.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 12:24:22 AM EDT
Yup, you just gotta love a plane that 50 years later can still rain down up to 110 bombs. It really is an amazingly rugged aircraft. I've seen footage of a B-52 that was being tested in turbulent conditions over the Rocky mountains when it lost it's entire vertical stabilizer, snapped off at the fuselage, and yet remained controlable enough to land safely. By the way, the B-52 didn't "outlive" the XB-70 Valkyrie as that plane never got beyond the prototype stage and was never a working bomber. I believe only 2 of them were ever produced, one of which suffered a mid-air collision during testing and was destroyed in the subsequent crash.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 7:02:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord: Los Angeles Times: B-52 Bomber Turns 50 The B-52 has never been used for its initial potential: dropping hydrogen bombs on a cold war enemy. But the Air Force has found other reasons to keep it around -- for conventional bombing, photographic reconnaissance and launching missiles.
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Help me folks, but I would also like to add the following: I think during the North American X15 program during the late fifties, the rocket plane was slung underneath a flying B52, where it was dropped and the the pilot in the X15 would ignited the rocket engine that would send the X15 to the edge of space, around 100,000+ feet. I also saw the B52 land when I visited Edward's Air Force base in the 6th grade. The whole plane can turn and land into the wind, kind of sideways. It was kinda wierd. But I think one reason for the USAF to use the plane well into the 2040 is because it take so long to develope a replacement. Look at the B1B & B2. I am certain that the USAF wanted these planes as a replacment for the aging B52, but the developement cycle is so long, that the next incoming president cancels or modifies the program in order to look good to the constituents. I believe Jimmy Carter cancelled the B1, and was later resurrected by Reagan, and of course our "friend" Bill Clinton cut the B2 at 20 planes.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 9:33:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord: I also saw the B52 land when I visited Edward's Air Force base in the 6th grade. The whole plane can turn and land into the wind, kind of sideways. It was kinda wierd.
That's why the landing gear was airbrushed out in the original pictures as the articles said. It was actually classified. The B-52 has some sort of steerable landing gear that allows it to land with a high degree of yaw in heavy crosswinds, hence they look like they are landing sort of sideways when doing so.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 11:12:27 AM EDT
Hey Lonegunman, ever get to ride in one? Kind of ponderous in a heavy takeoff, but in the airshow config you mentioned, it's a rip. I got weathered out of Griffiss once and overnighted at Bangor ME. They wouldn't give us any fuel so we made the short hop back with what was left in the tanks after an 8 hour mission. IIRC about 25 or 30,000 pounds. Durn near empty. All the fuel in the mains, nothing in the tips. The training wheels must have been eight feet in the air! A real cold, clear Maine morning less than 10F. What a rip of a takeoff!! I doubt we were on the ground for 3,000 feet. It actually set us back in the seats. Felt like a hot rod! As to the landing gear, yes all four of the main landing gear swivel, as do the training wheels out near the wingtips. There's a large knob on the center console so you can preset the main gear angle on final approach. The B52 lands in a full crab, no "kick out the crab" like a light plane. If you fool around with the knob while taxiing, the whole airplane can be made to go about 20 degrees sideways in either direction. My numbers may be a little off. It was almost thirty years ago. Sometimes I miss it. Most of the time not.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 5:01:13 PM EDT
I have about 170 hours of joy riding as an "in-flight" mechanic. The gear are steerable but the rears are usually locked in place. It can "crab" or turn into the wind and roll forward to takeoff in unually high winds. The fastest take-off I ever had was a 9 second roll with 35,000 lbs of fuel. THAT's right bots and girls, 0 to 150 mph in 9 seconds in a plane with a 187 foot wingspan. It's a pretty miserable ride if you don't have an ejection seat, but the cool factor is way up there. We were so low over North Dakota one time , as we banked for a turn over a farmer on a tractor I swear to God I could see him clearly tapping a Marlboro out of a pack while he looked up at us. It sucks to be the Taliban.
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 7:14:26 PM EDT
I have a B-52 website with lots of pics, here [url]www.geocities.com/troydebie[/url]
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 7:39:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/29/2001 7:31:38 PM EDT by toaster]
Happy Birthday!![<]:)] Here's to a good future for the BUFF!![beer] Long live the Old Dog!!!
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 7:41:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By AK_Boy: I have a B-52 website with lots of pics, here [url]www.geocities.com/troydebie[/url]
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Very nice!! Thanks!!
Link Posted: 11/29/2001 7:49:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/29/2001 7:42:01 PM EDT by toaster]
[img]http://www.geocities.com/troydebie/images/large/b79.jpg[/img] Oh my god!!!
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