Tarantine From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 210 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5112 times:
I have read that the B-52 will possibly fly for another 30yrs or so. I was wondering how much airframe life is left in the 52. I thought boeing designed the plane for approx 10,000hrs (unsure of the cycle life). Anyone know how many sorties a B-52 accumulates annually?
EMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5056 times:
I don't know. But the B-52 is one of the finest planes ever built. I read somewhere that there is one B-52 that has been flown by a Grandfather, a Father and a Son. 3 Generations all to fly the same plane..!!!
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
Grom365 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4904 times:
There are a couple of things that could keep the B-52 - or any old airplane - flying past it's "design life".
1. Design tools. Planes designed back in ye olden days didn't have the advantage of finite modeling, etc., that today's engineers do. For the same flight profile(s) and service life requirements, today's aircraft use thinner gages and more efficient structural designs because we have the tools to more accurately predict stress and loads distributions than in the past. In other words, analyze the design of an older plane with today's tools, and you'll find many of them have greater margins than originally calculated.
2. At one point in its life (I think it was the 'D' model), the flight profile changed from a HI-HI-HI to a HI-LO-MED. This caused the wing and tails to be redesigned and beefed-up for the increased loads experienced at high speed and low altitude. Now that the "standard" flight profile no longer includes low level ingress, you get an increase in fatigue life.
3. There will likely be some kind of service life enhancement program to deal with fatigue critical areas. This may range from adding doublers to re-winging the plane. Something like this would happen during a phased maintenance period, and while expensive, would be a lot cheaper than building a new bomber from scratch.
LeanOfPeak From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 509 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4842 times:
According to GlobalSecurity.org, the limiting part for the economic service life of the B-52 is the upper wing surface, which will supposedly last to between 32,500 and 37,500 hours. Using that as the limit, they anticipate that high-time airframes should start being retired in 2030, medium-time frames in 2040, and the required number of frames can no longer be sustained by 2044, though some of the lower-time frames could theoretically operate to 2050 or beyond. The last would theoretically be retired only 8 years short of the type flying for a century.
DeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4818 times:
The G's served in Desert Storm, yet were retired shortly after....how old were they? They didn't seem to be that old, right up there with their H brothers in currently....seems like they had some life in em, especially seeing how the H is going to serve far longer than any other B-52 variant out there.
Citation501sp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4745 times:
Yes the B-52H can still carry out its original nuclear mission. Although they no longer are kept waiting on alert for nuclear attack. They can be changed over in a few hours.
During the seventies and eighties, two wings of B-52H's the 5th BW and the 319th BW took over the conventional bombing mission from the B-52D's, "The Strategic Projection Force". During Desert Storm the roles were reversed the H's stood nuclear alert while the majority of G's did conventional bombing.
PanAm707320B From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 4592 times:
Vzlet - Agreed, the flight of the first prototype (YB-52) was on April 15th, 1952. The flight of the first production aircraft (B-52A) was on August 5th 1954. Anyway, we're splitting hairs here as it's still a hugely impressive service life and a fantastic aircraft.
Venus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1454 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (10 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4517 times:
Lets remember, the Buff was designed by the same guy's who designed the B17,and B-29. They had something going for them. It is a credit to them to build or over engineer the structures that they are still flying. The KC-135 and 707 also of these designers will soldiering on for at least 20 more year's.
IL76TD From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4326 times:
Are the engines used on present day Buffs the same engines that were used on the originals.
Have they ever though of reengining these aircraft with modern engines. Given the engine tech available today it seems like mission capability could be increased quite heavily if they were to outfit the planes with 4 modern engines
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 74
Reply 17, posted (10 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4319 times:
No.. They originally used turbojets, and the last pure jet BUFF was flying for NASA until recently.
Now they use TF-33 medium bypass turbofans. There currently is a study going on and a push to re-engine the BUFF with CFM-56 derivatives to give them better range and reduced maintenance.
I am waiting for some 717 fanatic to start saying the USAF should re-engine with BR-714's to give the engine another user and make the B717 more attractive in some way! (Hey, I just made a B717 reference in MilAv...is that some sort of record? )