Boeing B-52D Stratofortress

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress
Boeing B-52D Stratofortress
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By kjfitz @ 2007-03-15 22:38:25
The B-52 is considered the longest lived front-line military aircraft in aviation history. In 1948, Boeing began designing a long range nuclear capable bomber to meet the demands of the Strategic Air Command and the first B-52 was delivered in August 1954. The plane utilized four double engine pods and four twin wheel landing trucks which could be slewed to crab the aircraft in a crosswind landing. The B-52H aircraft used by the Air Force today are older than the pilots who fly them. The engines have no thrust reversers, so a very long reinforced runway is needed for takeoff and landing as the maximum aircraft weight can exceed 200 tons! Internal fuel tanks could hold over 46,000 gallons of fuel, allowing the aircraft to reach targets half-way around the world. With air-to-air refueling, B52’s were a truly global aircraft and have flown the 12,000 mile round the world route several times. B-52 bombers were considered the weapon the enemy feared most in the Vietnam War. B-52D’s would fly in formation too high to be seen or heard, dropping over one hundred 500 lb bombs each. B-52 tail gunners shot down two enemy aircraft in Viet Nam. All flight controls are manual, making it a very tough aircraft to fly. The BUFF’s (Big Ugly Fat Fellows) have survived wars, modernization, and replacement from more than five next generation bombers, but have remained in active Air Force inventory for almost forty years. B-52’s are used today as cruise missile carriers, but during the Gulf War reverted to their original design of carrying a large number of iron bombs, earning the respect and fear of those on the receiving end.

The museum’s B-52D, serial number 55-679, was manufactured by Boeing Aircraft, Wichita, KS, and delivered to the Air Force on June 5, 1957. During the Vietnam Conflict, it served 41 months (November 1966 to October 1973) in combat with 175 missions. In 1975, it was involved in a ground mishap at March AFB that resulted in a broken wing spar. Our B-52D last saw service here at the March Air Force Base with the 22nd Bombardment Wing as a weapons loading trainer. The museum aircraft was declared surplus at March AFB when it developed weakness in the rear fuselage and was assigned to the museum. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the museum’s B-52D has the following history:

Our B-52D served at the following locations:

June 1957 - Gained by the 92nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Fairchild AFB, Washington.

March 1961 - To 92nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

July 1961 - To 92nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Fairchild AFB, Washington.

February 1962 - To 92nd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command), Fairchild AFB, Washington.

May 1963 - To 494th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Sheppard AFB, Texas.

April 1966 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Pease AFB, New Hampshire.

November 1966 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

August 1967 - To 454th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

August 1967 - To 509th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

August 1967 - To 454th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

August 1967 - To 454th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

August 1967 - Tp 454th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

September 1967 - To 454th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command) March AFB, California.

March 1968 - To 306th Bomb Wing, Medium (Strategic Air Command), McCoy AFB, Florida.

March 1968 - To 22nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

May 1968 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

May 1968 - To 22nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

June 1968 - To 92nd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

September 1968 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

October 1968 - To 92nd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

October 1968 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

January 1969 - To 93rd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Castle AFB, California.

January 1969 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

March 1970 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

March 1970 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

August 1970 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Westover AFB, Massachusetts.

April 1971 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

May 1971 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

July 1971 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

August 1971 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

September 1971 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

April 1972 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

May 1972 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

July 1972 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

August 1972 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

September 1972 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

October 1972 - To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB, Texas.

April 1973 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

April 1973 - To 99th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), U-Tapao Air Field, Thailand.

September 1973 - To 96th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

October 1973 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

October 1973 - To 96th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Commmand), Dyess AFB, Texas.

November 1973 - To 22nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), March AFB, California.

May 1974 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

May 1974 - To 7th Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), Carswell AFB, Texas.

December 1974 - To 43rd Strategic Wing (Strategic Air Command Overseas), Anderson AFB, Guam.

January 1975 - To 22nd Bomb Wing, Heavy (Strategic Air Command), March AFB, California.

Mar 1977 - To 7th Bombardment (H.) Wing (SAC), Carswell AFB TX

Sep 1978 - To 22nd Bombardment (H.) Wing (SAC), March AFB CA (converted to GB-52D)

Dec 1982 - Converted back to B-52D

Apr 1989 - To Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, Davis-Monthan AFB AZ (last entry) (Note: it was assigned ownership to MASDC but was never flown there)

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, as of calendar year 1991, B-52D s/n 55-679 had a total of 11,861 flight hours logged. In l992, this aircraft was dropped from United States Air Force service.
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Boeing B-52D Stratofortress
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