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B-52 Airframe Life  
User currently offlineTarantine From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 210 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 4 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4500 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?

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4444 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"
User currently offlineGrom365 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4292 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.


User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 978 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4265 times:

Just from hearing the gossip, I understand the Air Force intends on keeping the B-52 around until 2040, which means when they'll be about 80 years old when they finally retire them.


Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineVzlet From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 829 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4259 times:

What I find amazing is that the B-52 first flew less than 7 years after the end of WWII.


"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
User currently offlineLeanOfPeak From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 509 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4230 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.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b-52-life.htm.


User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4206 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.

DeltaGuy


User currently offlineGrom365 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 3 days ago) and read 4202 times:

The 'G' model was retired not just because of fatigue life, but because of arms reduction treaties. The 'H' models are conventional weapons only.

User currently offlineVzlet From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 829 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4158 times:

Grom365,
Aren't the "H" models the sole platform for ALCMs, including the original nuclear version of the AGM-86 as well as the AGM-129?



"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
User currently offlineCitation501sp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 208 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4133 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.

501SP



Smoke and Thunder! Stage 2 FOREVER!!!
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6482 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4130 times:

Definitely not like the old days where they kept some of them in the air all the time.


When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4120 times:

Nope, but the E-4B "Doomsday" plane still sits on 24-hour Ground Alert. Airborne Alert ended with the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlinePanAm707320B From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4001 times:

VZlet - Not quite. The B-52 first flew in 1954 whereas WW2 finished in 1945. Still an amazing achievement however.

User currently offlineVzlet From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 829 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

(The Boeing site gives April 15, 1952 as the date.)



"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
User currently offlinePanAm707320B From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3980 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.

Regards
Alex


User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1437 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3905 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.


I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineIL76TD From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3714 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


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3707 times:
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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! Big grin (Hey, I just made a B717 reference in MilAv...is that some sort of record? ) Wink/being sarcastic Smile/happy/getting dizzy

[Edited 2005-01-05 05:02:07]

[Edited 2005-01-05 05:02:30]


Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2517 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3700 times:
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I wish they still had the original engines. What were they J-57s? I believe they use the JT-3D today. If they still had the old engines...we would see something like this when one takes off....



User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3696 times:
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Ah the old smoky water injected Pratt & Whitney J-57P-19W/29W/29WA takeoff.

"Peace is our Profession!"


The "H" models use the TF-33's just like the 707 and KC-135E/E-3 models.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3746 times:

The B-52 has never been reengined! Those examples flying today are flying with the same engine type they left the factory with. B-52Hs had the TF33s from day one, the earlier models had the J-57s.

There have been various proposals to reengine the BUFF, notably with the RB211, but none has come to anything.

regards


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