The Only Two B-52 Bombers To Be Resurrected From The “Boneyard” Parked Nose-to-Nose at Tinker AFB

B-52H Stratofortress bombers "Wise Guy," left, and "Ghost Rider," right, sit nose-to-nose with Tinker Air Force Base and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the background, Feb. 26, 2021. (All images credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Take a look at these interesting images of B-52 Stratofortress bombers, “Wise Guy” and “Ghost Rider,” undergoing PDM at Tinker Air Force Base Oklahoma.

As reported in detail in the last few months, only two U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers have been restored out of the “Boneyard”, at the 309th AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, to be returned to front-line service: “Ghost Rider”, tail number 61-0007, and “Wise Guy”, tail number 60-0034.

Both aircraft had been retired and put on long term storage, where they were supposed to remain to be cannibalized of parts needed by other B-52Hs.

However, the plans changed and both BUFFs have been resurrected. After being mothballed for seven years in the desert “Ghost Rider” returned to service in 2015 with the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota. The second “Wise Guy”, spent 10 years in the desert before being resurrected late last year.

Close up image of the two B-52s.

The two “Lazarus” aircraft were regenerated at the Tinker Air Force Base’s Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, and it’s there that they are currently undergoing  PDM (Programmed Depot Maintenance).

PDM is a complex process, that each Stratofortress bomber undergoes every four years. The airframe is stripped off its paint, so maintainers can assess if there are leaks or repairs are needed on the outer skin of the aircraft. Then, the aircraft is almost completely disassembled and each part is inspected and all defects are fixed before they are rebuilt, repainted, carry out several Functional Check Flights before they are sent back to their home stations. The aircraft return to active service as they were almost brand new.

“Wise Guy,” left, and “Ghost Rider,” right, at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, Feb. 26, 2021.

While “Ghost Rider” is currently undergoing routine PDM, “Wise Guy” is undergoing the heavy maintenance as the final part of a three-phase process to resurrect the aircraft and return it to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, so that the number of B-52 bombers mandated by Congress is brought back to full strength at 76 aircraft.

The two B-52H Stratofortress bombers were parked nose-to-nose at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, on Feb. 26, 2021, and this provided the opportunity to shoot some interesting photos that you can find in this article.

Another shot of the two resurrected B-52s at Tinker AFB.
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.