B-52 Stratofortress de-iced at Minot Air Force Base
With wind chill temperatures into the negative 60s F (-51° Celsius), Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, faces serious icing conditions in late fall and mid-winter seasons.
Therefore, 5 Bomb Wing B-52 Stratorofortress strategic bombers based there need to be de-iced before they can be launched; an operation that can be conducted by shooting hot air on the fuselage along with a mixture of hot air and glycol shot by de-icer trucks.
Interestingly, the forward section of the aircraft can’t be hit with a de-icing truck and it is de-iced thanks to an electric heating system made of resistive elements embedded in the cockpit (as well as in other parts of the airframe).
I know how to operate one of those de-ice trucks. That was my tad duty in the Navy when I was stationed at NAS Brunswick. I made e-4 before I checked into my first operational command thus they couldnt send me to pull galley duty or 1st Lt Duty.
I can understand basing these B-52s in North Dakota during the Cold War. That put them an hour or more closer to the genuinely Evil Empire that was our primary threat. But in today’s more muddled world, it does seem that they could be located at a base in in warmer climate, where all this de-icing wouldn’t be necessary.
If heightened tensions did develop over Putin’s bullying, these B-52s could still be relocated or kept in the air by refueling much as they were during the tensions of the past.
Besides, I feel sorry for these airman stuck in all that cold even though they seem to enjoy the work.
Any idea why you can’t hit the forward portion of the plane with the deicer?
They can but there’s no need. The wings flex so much it breaks away on its own.
Clearly there’s a need if you have to use an electric heating system to deice it.
I guess some of the optronic sensors and instrumentation don’t react well to the de-icing mix, especially glycol.
Brings new meaning to the word “Cold war”!