The B-52 “Wise Guy” is only the second Stratofortress bomber to ever be restored out of the Boneyard to be returned to the fleet.
As already reported in detail in this previous article, “Wise Guy” is the nickname of the B-52H Stratofortress bomber tail number 60-0034, that is being prepared to return to service with the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, by the Tinker Air Force Base’s Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.
The aircraft has arrived at Tinker AFB, on Apr. 1, 2020, to undergo PDM (Programmed Depot Maintenance), the final part of a three-phase process to resurrect the aircraft, that had been retired after logging more than 17,000 flight hours at the 309th AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, in 2008.
Aircraft 60-0034 is only the second B-52H bomber to ever be regenerated to active service from the “Boneyard” at AMARG. The first one was the Stratofortress tail number 61-007, nicknamed “Ghost Rider,” regenerated at Tinker in 2015.
“Wise Guy” has now completed PDM, a very complex process made of heavy checks, during which the aircraft (at different intervals depending on the type) is almost completely disassembled and each part is inspected and all defects are fixed before they are rebuilt and sent back to their home stations as they were (almost) brand new. Even the paint is stripped off the entire airframe so that technicians can analyze every part of the aircraft and make repairs where needed.
Completely “naked”, “Wise Guy” has started flying test flights, each of those include a battery of tests that are aimed to check the function of the aircraft and its systems after PDM. Our friend Rob Stephens at Redhome Aviation has been closely monitoring these tests flights, taking the amazing, exclusive shots you can find in this article.
On Dec. 14, 2020, the “Lazarus B-52” flew for 2.5 hrs before working the pattern at Tinker AFB: this flight marked Wise Guy’s first wheels up flight since her arrival to the Boneyard 12 years ago! On Dec. 16 “Wise Guy” conducted some in-flight tests for about one hour before returning and taking 5 touch and go passes, including one flaps up pass. On Dec. 18, the aircraft was again airborne for about an hour, did one touch and go, two overheads, and a full stop.
The images in this article were taken on both test flights.
The aircraft now appears to have passed FCF (Functional Check Flight) phase and will move on to paint before flying back to Minot AFB (likely to take place at the beginning of January).
Interestingly, as explained in the previous article, in 2008, a young USAF Captain who flew “Wise Guy” to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, wrote a note on the clipboard: “AMARG, This is 60-034, A cold warrior that stood sentinel over America from the darkest days of the cold war to the global fight against terror. Take good care of her… until we need her again.” Rob Stephens was able to talk to the now Lt. Col. and get his thoughts on her regeneration, which you can find in the video below.
Thanks a lot to our friend Rob Stephens for sending us his exclusive photos. Make sure you like Redhome Aviation on Facebook for more great news and images!