Incredible video shows B-52 bomber performing strong crosswind landing

May 05 2016 - 8 Comments

This is cool.

Depending on the type of aircraft, pilots may be required to apply a Wind Correction Angle (WCA) and “crab” the plane aligning nose and tail with the wind direction to counter the drifting effect of side winds during strong crosswind landings.

Whilst most of the planes “de-crab” once the main landing gear touches the ground (or shortly before), the U.S. Air Force iconic B-52 bomber was designed in such a way the landing gear can be set up to 20 degrees left to right of centerline for both takeoff and landing.

In this way, the Stratofortress can stay sideways even after touchdown.

This unique capability is shown in the following video, filmed by Fred Seggie at RAF Leuchars back in 2006 (some of you may have already seen it; still it is probably interesting for those who have never seen it).

  • David James

    Nothin to worry about, she’s got a solid gold parachute!

  • Frederick Murre

    Really is interesting isn’t it? I’m surprised there have been no civil airliner types with four steerable main gear. It’d probably save $$$ on tire wear, lower rejected approaches, and allow for higher sink-rate landings. (to the consternation of the passengers)

    Although I guess the always weight of the extra gear would burn more fuel, and civil types are built plenty tough, at least for two decade plus fatigue lives, even with less than elegant landings.

  • BadBilly

    As I was watching the video I thought the front gear hadn’t touched down yet and I was yelling left rudder. But the closer it came to the camera it looked like the gear could “crab” while the plane was still turned into the crosswind. I never knew the B-52 (or any older military aircraft) had that ability. Thanks for the video and the education.

  • InklingBooks

    “Clever. I wonder why this technology is not widely adopted.”

    The B-52 is still in active service over 60 years after it first flew. The engineers who designed it were, shall we say, a cut above the average.

    I seem to recall that there are commercial aircraft with this feature. The catch may be that, if it is installed on an aircraft, the pilots would have to be trained in its use. Airlines may not want to spent the money that requires. Better to just let them muddle through the old-fashioned way.

    Also, there’s the confusion factor if some aircraft have them and some do not. The old military adage: “Order, counter-order, disorder.” Applies here. The transition could create, at least for a time, more problems than it solves.

  • You know something is designed very well when it’s still used after all these years.

    Way ahead of it’s time.

    • sferrin

      Well no, it wasn’t ahead of it’s time. Like the KC-135 it was a nice basic usefully sized aircraft. Given they’ve been wanting to replace it since about 5 years after it entered service one could hardly say it was “ahead of it’s time”.

      • They wanted to replace it five years after it went into service….so I guess they just never got around to it after 60 years? That’s some procrastinating right there. Thanks, but despite your apparent annoyance that I find this aircraft to have been ahead of its time, I’m sticking with it.

        Sorry ’bout it.

  • sferrin

    Designed for a nuclear war which could have literally started at any minute. No telling what kind of weather one might have to operate in so best to be prepared. The B-1B had (has?) a button on the back of the nose gear that the pilot could hit on his way up the ladder that would start all four engines to get off the ground sooner. Today’s younger generation would have a difficult time coming to grips with how it was to live like that.