This photo shows how low a B-52 bomber can fly on a maritime attack mission

May 28 2013 - 15 Comments

Published by the cool Team Stratofortress Facebook page, this image is one of the few showing how low the B-52 bomber can fly next to a supercarrier at sea.

B-52 low level

Image credit: via Team Stratofortress

You’ll find some other images showing this kind of flypast on the Web but, provided it was not photoshopped, this is the only I’ve seen so far taken from on board the aircraft carrier.

By the way, note the typical nose down attitude of the Stratofortress on straigh flight.

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  • jonathanwaldo
  • Kalle

    Is this photo real? Its looks photo shoped.

  • nicolae

    I’m not a Photoshop expert but ran the picture thru a photo forsenics program, looks legit.

  • Ian Bohne

    Obvious photoshop. For the large Buff to be that small means it would have to be much further away yet using the shadow above water it seems to be within a quarter mile of the carrier. Plus note the Tomcats on deck…just how long ago was this photo “taken?”

  • robwrongshoes


  • Rob Bixby

    Not Photoshopped, we had BUFF’s and Bears fly by very low on a regular basis on the carriers I was on.

    • Rudy

      why? what possible purpose is there to flying a bomber by a carrier?

      • Rob Bixby

        Low level flight is often critical for modern warfare. It keeps the attacking aircraft from being detected by the opposing forces. It’s a skill pilots have to work at. Maritime attack is not like it was in the 50’s and 60’s, with high altitude dropping of bombs. So when they get a chance to use it, and have a little fun by impressing someone, all the better.

  • Texbea

    Could some one explain why the buff flys level with a nose down

    • PurpAv

      Flaps down changes airfoil mean camber line. making plane want to pitch up. Typically down trim is added to correct.

    • Rob Brothers

      Buff always flys nose down for lift even when flaps are up. Just the way the plane was designed, should see them when they come in for landing they don’t flair like other aircraft do!

  • William Dix

    More than likely not photo shopped image. I’d say it’s probably a different angle on the low level pass by a pair of B-52s of the U.S.S. Ranger back in1989 which has only recently been scanned. See:

    A quick search on Google Images search pulls up two other photos of the same flypast one from an escort and one from the carrier itself.

  • David Schwartz

    Even if it looks fake it’s what the BUFFs can do.

  • IMHO clearly mspaint.exe – just note the distance from the carrier.

  • Squidly

    Must be a Navy pilot flying it.