Awesome video shows B-52 bombers during a MITO (Minimum Interval Take Off)

It must have been a smokey morning at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, when the following video was filmed.

Ten B-52H bombers take off during a Minimum Intervall Take Off (MITO) exercise, conducted to test the Stratofortresses’ ability to respond to threats at a moment’s notice.

During this training events, aircraft are launched by a method known “cart-starts” from cartridge starts: a small-controlled explosive is inserted into two of the eight engines of the heavy bomber. The charges jumpstart the engines (the remaining engines are started while the aircraft taxies to the runway) removing the need to use ground equipment normally used for aircraft’s startup.

Using cart-starts, startup time is cut from more than an hour to less than 10 minutes.


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • The 11th bonb wing tested mito with E models
      At altus afb I believe in 1962, are there records of that event?

  1. It used to take an hour to launch, because of the INS alignment. The INS would hold for 48 hours before they had to realign, unless they were on alert, then it was every 24 hours due to drift, IIRC. We’d start engines on them, and because there was no way to align in flight out of Hickam they’d have to run engines for an hour to do the alignment.

    It was always fun when a crew would make us mad, because we’d put them on spot 15D near the AMC terminal. This would screw their alignment up completely, because between C and D, there was a big metal grate that would pull their compass off.

    • Yes, any of the bombers can get off faster w/out a grnd align. The problem is launching from someplace like Guam, Hickam or others, where there’s no place to get INS updates once airborne, over water. Even launches going over the poles still had landmass (and time) to update their nav systems.

  2. Brings back memories! From ’77 to ’88, I flew G-models, making even more smoke due to the water injection. The cartridge start cannisters ‘burn’ a gas to spin the 2 engines up to speed. The remaining 6 are started right afterwards frm bleed air off the first 2. You don’t want to get to the runway to discover you can’t get any of the other 6 engs started. For MITOs, all jets have all systems for T.O. up and running when you get into the ‘elephant walk’ twd the runway threshold. 15 sec spacing was taken by starting a watch as jet engines ahead of you start spooling up and making smoke. After 15 sec, you pushed your throttles up and held on – wake turbulancewas a bear right at liftoff!

  3. WOW!! What an impressive show of B-52 air power!!
    My worry would be “jet wash” (is that what it’s called?)
    Great job guys!!

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