Tag Archives: Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Here’s the video of the B-52 bomber flying without its fin

As explained on a previous post, on Jan. 10, 1964, a B-52H lost its vertical tail during a test mission over North Mexico.

The aircraft was able to land six hours later and here’s a video showing the first and only “tailless” Stratofortress.

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50 years ago a B-52 lost its tail over New Mexico. But managed to land.

On Jan. 10, 1964, a B-52H flown by Boeing civilian test pilot Chuck Fisher and his three man crew lost its tail at about 14,000 ft over northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Christo Mountains.

The aircraft was involved in a test mission whose purpose was to shake, rattle and roll the Stratofortress bomber at high speed and low altitude to record sensor data on how such a profile could affected the plane’s airframe.

The crew did their job: the vertical stabilizer detached from the B-52.

Six hours later, with support from the ground, Fisher successfully performed the first and only Stratofortress‘s tailless landing!

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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Two U.S. B-52 bombers help Cessna in Alaska in a memorable rescue mission

Few days before flying “violation” of China’s new ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone), the iconic B-52H Stratofortress bomber was involved in another memorable operation.

On Nov. 10, two B-52s, respectively launched from Minot and Barksdale AFB with radio callsign Hail 13 and Hail 14, were flying over Alaska, when they were called from Anchorage ATCC (Air Traffic Control Center), asking for their assistance: contacts with a Cessna plane had been lost after its pilot became disoriented after flying into bad weather.

The small plane was flying at such a low altitude that the ATC was unable to talk with it on the radio.

Hail 13 was about 200 miles away from the Cessna pilot’s estimated location when they got the distress call.

“The first thing we did was calculate our fuel to make sure we had enough,” said Capt. Joshua M. Middendorf, 69th BS aircraft commander of Hail 13. “We also had to ensure our wingman, Hail 14, would have enough fuel to make it back to Barksdale.”

After assessing that they had enough fuel for the new task Hail 13 headed directly west in search of the Cessna pilot.

One hundred miles into their detour, the leading B-52 was able to locate and establish a radio contact with the pilot who had dropped to low level to keep visual contact of the terrain below the clouds and was flying through a ground surrounded by mountains.

Since the B-52 was much higher it could act as a relay between the pilot and the ATC, providing the distress pilot information about the weather ahead and “directions” to reach the nearest landing field.
As the pilot approached Calhoun Memorial Airport in Tanana, Alaska, Hail 13 turned up the air field lights over a common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) to help the pilot landing safely.

“Although both crews flew hundreds of miles off course, they did not allow the detour to compromise their mission,” the Air Force official release on the episode says.

“The fuel saved by the crew of HAIL13 in the beginning stages of the mission allowed them to fly faster back to their original course, putting them back on schedule. Not only did they meet schedule, HAIL13 and their wingman were able to complete every mission checkpoint, resulting in a successful mission.”

Did you know that, among all the other roles, the B-52 could also fly SAR (Search And Rescue) support missions?

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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[Video] B-52 strategic bomber landing on a very short runway

The following video was recorded in 1983.

It shows the B-52 Stratofortress of the then Strategic Air Command, currently on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, arriving at the airport serving the largest UK aviation museum.

The runway at Duxford is 1,500 mt in length, and the bomber barely managed to remain within the runway (in spite of being stripped of all unnecessary equipment to make it lighter).

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This impressive set of photographs will bring you aboard a U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber

The following images were taken by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder during a Green Flag – East (GF-E) training mission flown by a Barksdale Air Force Base’s 20th Bomb Squadron B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber.

GF-E is a realistic air-land integration combat training exercise meant to replicate deployed warfare conditions.

B-52s are among the assets that could take part in an eventual U.S. air strike on Syria operating from both overseas airbases (as RAF Fairford in the UK, or Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean) and their homebase in the CONUS (Continental U.S.), during round trip Global Strike missions.

The 60 years old bombers are capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet carrying a variety of weapons including nuclear and precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.

Stratofortress participates in Green Flag

Capt. Matthew Gray assigned to the 20th Bomb Squadron, flies a B-52H Stratofortress during a Green Flag-East training mission, Aug. 21, 2013, Fork Polk, La.

B-52 2

Capt. Greg Lepper, 96th Bomb Squadron B-52H Stratofortress navigator, checks the instruments while flying in Green Flag-East over Fort Polk, La., Aug. 21, 2013.

B-52 3

Maj. Chris Weir, B-52 Stratofortress navigator, 96th Bomb Squadron, checks the instruments while participating in Green Flag-East Aug. 21, 2013, Ft. Polk, La.

B-52 4

Maj. Chris Weir, left, and Capt. Greg Lepper, right, B-52 Stratofortress navigators, 96th Bomb Squadron, checks the instruments while participating in Green Flag-East Aug. 21, 2013, Ft. Polk, La.

Stratofortress participates in Green Flag

First Lt. Reed Elsbernd assigned to the 20th Bomb Squadron, flies a B-52H Stratofortress during a Green Flag-East training mission Aug. 21, 2013, Ft. Polk, La.

Stratofortress participates in Green Flag

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

 

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