The rapid launch of 17 B-52 Stratofortresses, that was the highlight of Constant Vigilance exercise held at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on Jun, 11, 2012 was just the last of a series of event that have the aim to test the U.S. Air Force heavy bomber force’s mission readiness.
As the following interesting video shows, in June 2009, Minot hosted a 15-ship 15 MITO (Minimum Interval Take Off) in support of Exercise Global Thunder.
You can see crew members and crew chiefs rush to the planes and then hear a series of “booms”, with white smoke, before the engines spool up. That’s the effect of “cart-starts”, small starter cartridges, coffee cup sized shotshells used to jumpstart the engines removing the need for ground power or air start.
- Rapid launch exercise at Minot AFB: 17 B-52 heavy bombers take off in sequence to test mission readiness (theaviationist.com)
- Photo: The most famous U.S. nuclear bomber generates (peace sign) rainbow condensation cloud (theaviationist.com)
- Pentagon flexing muscles at Pyongyang: B-52 bombers take part in largest U.S. exercise in Korea for the first time (theaviationist.com)
- The Newest B-52 Turns 50 Years Old This Year (neatorama.com)
Hmm, this is a new procedure over what it used to be. Back in the day of the A-D model they used a shotgun shell, and you got a huge black cloud of smoke. Sometimes they’d start 4 or more at once. This uses a very small explosive charge to start two engines, and they start the others while heading for the runway, hence the white smoke.
There are some great pictures of B-57 cartridge starts that show the difference.
Awesome stuff, thank you!