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Is The B-52 Is One The Best USAF Planes Ever?  
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3614 posts, RR: 2
Posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6495 times:

I was reading a old post about future military jet and it stated that the B-52 could out last the B-1b Lancer. I know that USAF plans to keep the B-52 till 2040 and the last B-52H (which is the last model built) was built around 1963. I would think a plane that can last that long has to be one strong and well built girl. These aircrafts out last the aircraft carrier USS America CV-66. They have tried to build replacement for this plane for example XB-70, B-58 even the B-1A Lancer was built to replace the B-52, but nothing could ever replace B-52 and that is saying something. Now I am more of a B-1B fan, but I think the B-52 is one of the three greatest aircraft ever built for the USAF, so what do you think?

PS The other two are the KC-135 and C-130 (but I not a C-130 fan, I just think it is well built)

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBoeing Nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6461 times:

Anytime any aircraft can be in service for 80 years, and kick ass while at it, has to be one of the best.

User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3586 posts, RR: 29
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6437 times:

I would say that there aren't many planes which could come even close to the B52. You have asked for the best USAF plane, but I cannot think of many planes from other airforces which come close to such a record.

If there are any planes to be put in the same category, I would list the following, which aren't necessarily USAF planes:

C130, C160 Transall: Both fly since the 1960s/70s, and have both been used a lot.

F4 Phantom: It flew for the first time in 1958, and will probably fly until 2020 or so... Not in the USAF, of course, but it remains a useful combat plane.

MIG-21: The same on the soviet side. Equally succesful for a very long time

Bell UH1 and AH1. While they aren't planes, they have also lasted for a very impressive period.

Nimrod, VC-10: Planes which lasted so long are incredible.

B707, KC135: These were the first commercially succesful jetplane designs (the Comet failed), and they are still modern enough to be used for decades to come. Remarkable.

I would think, however, that we would not have seen some of these planes to be used for such a long time if we still had the cold war.


User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6411 times:

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 2):
Nimrod, VC-10: Planes which lasted so long are incredible.

Let's add the Canberra to those British aircraft.


User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6363 times:

Don't forget the Douglas C-47. Now that's a workhorse! IMHO, the 3 best planes the USAF has or had are the B-52, C-47 & the T-38. Regards.


"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12142 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6243 times:

How about the F/FB-111, it has been around since 1965, and still flying with the RAAF.

Quoting 747400sp (Thread starter):
They have tried to build replacement for this plane for example XB-70, B-58 even the B-1A Lancer was built to replace the B-52,

The B-58 and B-1A/B were never going to replace more than the B-52C/E. They were never intended to replace the B-52D/F/G/H.


User currently offlineMikehobley From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 6148 times:

I think the RAF has the edge over the USAF in terms of the Long service award - The new Nimrod MRA4 is going to be in service for a long time to come and is derived from a comet airframe - which first flew back in 49'  Smile

User currently offlinePavlin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6013 times:

I don't know why the USAF will retire B-1 before b-52.

User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1260 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5990 times:

Quoting Pavlin (Reply 7):
I don't know why the USAF will retire B-1 before b-52.

I bleieve it is a money issue. The B-1 is a more capable aircraft in many respects, but is also FAR more expensive to operate.

Even with eight thirsty engines and half a century of service, the B-52 is still the backbone of ACC's bombing fleet!



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5983 times:

"One of..." absolutely. High on a very short list. Think about it! There have been B-52s flying for more than half the entire history of the airplane. Sometimes merit is best measured by the difficulty of finding a suitable replacement.

One of my really primo memories is standing on the ground watching an 'arclight' strike; at least 36, maybe more B-52s each dropping one hundred and eight 250lb bombs along a treeline only about four or five miles away. The shockwaves fluttered my clothing like standing in propwash. The sound practically drove me to my knees! I think the VC did not like B-52s.

T-38 has been a terriffic design too, enduring design with very little modification. It has been a trainer and has morphed into quite a few other applications including pure research aircraft.

The C-130 is clearly one of the very best airplanes ever, any country, any age. Its sheer usefulness is incredible. Production run unequalled by any other airplane its size. The taxpayers got their money's worth with this one.

But my choice has to be the lowly C-47. No other airplane has done so much, nor are they likely to. From D-Day workhorse to Vietnam gunship to towing lifting bodies to getting the colonel his four hours a month. They've done it all.

It is a good topic for discussion and I'll bet this subject has boosted beer sales at 'the club' for many a year now.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6449 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5872 times:

The B-52 only had the advantage that it always found a new role when it got outdated for its former role.

The B-52 was designed as a high altitude carpet- and nuke bomber. The supersonic jet fighter with radar made it outdated in that role.

Then it was converted into a low level penetrator. It got outdated in that role when ICBMs were refined to hit within a mile from target instead of a dozen miles.

Then it was converted into a carrier of high speed air to ground missiles, Short Range Attack Missiles.

And finally, when cruise missiles were invented, then the B-52 was there to lift them off the ground, to take up its fourth role.

There is no mystery that the B-1 may go before the B-52. The B-1 was designed as a high speed low level penetration bomber - to take over the second of the four roles which the B-52 has held until now. If not earlier, then that role totally disappeared with the end of the Cold War.

Consequently the B-1 - since it happened to be there - was also converted into a cruise missile carrier.

However, the B-52 just happens to carry more cruise missiles further for less bucks than the B-1.

In the other end of the spectrum we find the B-58 Hustler. It was designed as a high speed high altitude penetrator. The high altitude SAMs, especially the Soviet SAM-2, made it outdated overnight, and there was no way it could take up a new role.

In case the B-58 had been able to take up new roles, then it might have been considered a much better plane than the B-52 today.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5859 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 11):
In case the B-58 had been able to take up new roles, then it might have been considered a much better plane than the B-52 today.

I think it would require a pretty narrow definition of the word 'better' to make the B-58 better than the Buff. The same definition would make the Lamorghini Gallardo 'better' than a Toyota Camry. I know which I'd rather drive - or fly, but if I was going to open a dealership I'd choose Toyota hands down. If I was going to acquire bombers for my Air Force I would rather have something that was adaptable, versatile, rugged, simple, and that could be flown by average highly skilled, heroic pilots and not supermen.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3614 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5696 times:

I talked to some B-52 pilots today at the Wing over Hamton Road air show, and they love the plane. I ask would they trade in there B-52 shot for B-1 shot both said not a chance. One pilot said in almost every country they visit, the poeple love them. They made being a B-52 pilot seem like the great job in the world.

User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5685 times:

Grandfathers
Fathers
Todays Youth
Their Children
Their Children's Children

Will have flown and worked the B-52.

Incredible to think that once upon a time, in the swampy plain of North Dakota, 23 years ago, I was wrestling with that old girl, just like guys 23 years before me had....and 23 years from now will be doing the same.

One person I talked to a long time ago ventured to guess the B-52 is the first aircraft to have a service life of potentially 100 years.

I may not live to see it if it becomes true, I'm just real glad to have gotten to know the greatest airplane ever made!

Joe B.
319th AMS/GFAFB 1981-84 (Ret.)



Delete this User
User currently offlineKC135R From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 727 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5665 times:

I agree that the B-52, KC-135, and C-130 are three of the USAF's most impressive airplanes not only for the time they have been (and will be) in service, but also because of the versatility of all 3.

The KC-135, like the B-52, is scheduled to be in service until 2040. Newer versions of the C-130 are likely to be in service well past that point, all 3 aircraft are quite impressive.

Every time I watch another KC-135 take off, or fly on one, I am amazed that an airplane about to be 50 years old is still so useful and reliable.

Of course, having worked them for nearly 8 years, I would put the KC-135 on the top of the list.......


User currently offlineMigFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5661 times:

The B-52 is one impressive piece of machinery. Any aircraft that can cast a noticeable shadow to those on the ground, rocks in my book!

User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5605 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 11):
The B-52 only had the advantage that it always found a new role when it got outdated for its former role

This aspect alone probably puts the B-52 at the top of the list, along with the F-4 and the P-51. To be able to be converted to different roles and then perform them excellently is one of the hallmarks of good design. This airplane has done it all except be a dog fighter. The unmatched lifespan of the airframe goes without speaking as probably the only airframe to match the DC-3/C-47 for structural design and lifecycles.
One thing that this aspect has enabled that is not spoken of often is to give the USAF the choice of choosing weapon systems according to cost. Any armament delivery weapons system usually includes a B-52 option and its amazing to see how many times its the B-52 that's the most cost effective. That enables budgets then to be allocated to other programs that wouldn't have available funds if not for the B-52. So in addition to its own roles, it also has had far reaching effects on the roles of other aircraft other than itself.


User currently offlineStratofortress From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 178 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5595 times:

No question about it. The B-52 is the most venerable aircraft ever built.


Forever New Frontiers
User currently offlineTWAL1011727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 629 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5569 times:

Why haven't the B52's been re-engined...The technology does exist for more powerful more fuel effecient/less smoky engines than what they have on them now. What is the current variant thrust output on these smokers? And is it feasible ? KD MLB

User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6449 posts, RR: 54
Reply 19, posted (8 years 4 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5451 times:

Quoting TWAL1011727 (Reply 19):
Why haven't the B52's been re-engined...

Money! The USAF have vacuum cleaned engines from civil 707s and also KC-135E to keep the B-52Hs flying at a fair cost.

Also for operational flexibility it proved more beneficial to spend the money on upgrading the KC-135s into KC-135R first.

When the day comes when there are no more good, used engines available, and new spares have to be produced at high cost, then maybe...?

But let's hope that before that threats with violence become old fashioned. After all countries, which don't accept that, become fewer and fewer. When they reach a "critical low mass", then I believe that a snowball effect will make all military on planet Earth redundant very fast. I would love to live to see that happen.

Am I too optimistic?



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 20, posted (8 years 4 months 2 days ago) and read 5440 times:

Quoting TWAL1011727 (Reply 19):
Why haven't the B52's been re-engined...The

How about two PW-4000s and convert the outboard pylons to hardpoints for cruise missiles? It just wouldn't be the same though. Nothing but engines as far as they eye can see!



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3614 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (8 years 4 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5412 times:

Why would you want to re-engine the B-52. I for one, always like those eight loud smokey TF-33. I can not believe the USAF is re-engineing the C-5 I love the sounld of those TF-39 and they will be goeg soon sad so sad.

PS: I do like the KC-135R, but only because the KC-135R look like a 737 with four engines like a BAe-146/ Avro RJ.


User currently offlineBaroque From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 15380 posts, RR: 59
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5292 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 19):
Am I too optimistic?

Of course you are - you must come from Europe to have those sorts of views! But don't get too downhearted, high fuel prices are on your side. They must also be on the side of re-engining the B52. It seems to me arguable whether shortage of oil discoveries or wars will be the main control over future fuel prices. So you might have the paradox that a war waged in the right place might make other high tech wars unaffordable.


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