avnut43
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50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:12 pm

On Friday October 26th, the last B-52 built (tail #61-040) was delivered to the Air Force to Minot Air Force Base, N.D. 50 years ago! It is currently assigned to Minot. The plane came of the production on 22 June 1962.

Last B-52 ever made: MAFB has last B-52 to roll off assembly line, part of 69th Bomb Squadron
http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/566188.html

Last B-52 marks 50th birthday
http://www.shreveporttimes.com/artic...y=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:22 pm

She Joins all her elderly sisters at, or over 50, and most of her Boeing brothers the KC-135.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:31 am

Quoting avnut43 (Thread starter):
Last B-52 marks 50th birthday

And they are expected to remain in service until 2040. Imagine that - an aircraft in constant service for 80 years!

Here was the pinnacle of aircraft technology 80 years ago.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-12963%2C_Flugboot_%22Do_X%22.jpg
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tommytoyz
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:45 am

The most advances aircraft to ever fly was the SR-71 and that one first flew about 40 years ago. Show me a manned aircraft that has equaled it since. Even today, it would be almost impossible to shoot it down. Not even a F-22 could do it. You'd need rockets going faster than Mach 5 with a good range to catch it and fired at just the right moment to have even the smallest chance.

No fighter A2A missile can go that fast - even today.

The experience with the C-5, C-130, KC-135, B-52 and others, show that age is not measured in years, rather measured in flight hours.

A basic truck doesn't need to be replaced with another basic truck, if it still works perfectly well and safely. Same for the KC-135 and the other subsonic carriers. That's why the KC-46 is a total waste of money. There has to be a better justification than the simple fact that they're old, to replace an old frame, IMHO.

The USAF can continue for decades more on all those frames without any issue. Matter of fact the entire KC-135 fleet has one of the highest readiness rates of all USAF types. Year of manufacture has almost nothing to do with capability, effectiveness and readiness.
 
flyingturtle
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:15 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
The most advances aircraft to ever fly was the SR-71 and that one first flew about 40 years ago. Show me a manned aircraft that has equaled it since.

Easy. Our database is full of photographs of such manned aircraft.  

But it's good that you mention your yardstick:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
No fighter A2A missile can go that fast - even today.

David
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HaveBlue
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:47 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
The most advances aircraft to ever fly was the SR-71 and that one first flew about 40 years ago.

Make that about 50 years ago. A-12 first flight 1962, YF-12 1963 and SR-71 1964. That's how I remember them, easy peasy. Very impressive group of aircraft, and mind blowingly innovative and revelutionary too. And all that done in just a couple of years from conception to first flight, before the use of computers, while our much more benign aircraft today take forever to get into service. And look at how dated automobiles and just about everything else is from the late 50's, early 60's, yet the Blackbirds still look space age futuristic even today.

I've seen all 3 incarnations of them (except an M-21 mothership to the D-21) but sadly, never got to see one fly. Bummer.
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tommytoyz
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:35 pm

I did get to see them fly several times and heard their sonic boom frequently.

No plane in service has equaled her speed since. Hundreds of missiles were fired at her since she was plainly visible on radar. But the speed and altitude provided perfect protection.

Even today, an AIM-120 has a top speed of only Mach 4, which is way too slow to catch a Mach 3.2+ bird flying miles overhead. An F-35 shooting of an AIM-120D from it's designed cruising altitude of 25,000 feet would make that missile climb almost 10 miles straight up, just to reach the same altitude wheil accelerating and laterally tracking. By the time it could have caught up, it's 100 mile range would probably have been long exhausted. The SR-71 meanwhile could go on for thousands of miles at those speeds and a defensive turn put hundreds of miles between it and anything quickly.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 4):
Our database is full of photographs of such manned aircraft.

What plane in your data base achieved what the SR-71 did?

ON stealth, we should not forget what we already learned:
"For all this effort, Kelly Johnson later conceded that Russian radar technology advanced faster than the stealth technology employed against it." (SR-71).

We will have to relearn this again I am afraid.

[Edited 2012-10-30 15:37:29]
 
Newark727
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:53 am

Kind of interesting to compare it to the B-52. The SR-71 did a couple of things incredibly well, whereas the B-52 never flew its original mission of nuclear strike but handled all kinds of other things that it's been adapted to.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:33 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 6):
I did get to see them fly several times and heard their sonic boom frequently.

I only had one chance, and it didn't work out. As a teenager we were visiting Ohio in the mid 80's during the same weekend they had the Dayton, OH airshow. I begged & pleaded with my dad (a Huey pilot and fellow aviation enthusiast) to take me across state for this, as the SR-71 was scheduled for flybys. Weather was poor that day and they cancelled the Blackbird, unfortunately. Glad you got to see/hear it though  
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:53 am

One question I had was regarding the amount of average flying hours amassed for these aircraft. I found this and hope it’s valid – if not please discount/correct.

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

Obviously a bomber isn’t utilized like a civilian airliner, but still to me it’s incredible that these aircraft are really only middle-aged.

What’s interesting (I’m not an aircraft engineer) is the projected life for the vertical stabilizer vs. the rest of the aircraft. Is this typical in aircraft design? Also, I was just looking through Walter Boyne’s book on the B-52 where it stated it originally had a projected life of only about 5000 hours. The change in lifespan is simply amazing, especially given how the role has varied over time, i.e., high-altitude vs. low-altitude bombing. Quite an amazing aircraft.
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:01 am

The B-52 is also a good machine even today. The USAF missed a great opportunity and did not re engine her. The reasoning is so dumb, I seems deliberate.

They said the savings in gas would not make a reasonable return on the capital investment to re engine the B-52. The "error" was that they used the price of gas on the ground, not factoring in the fact that aerial tankers deliver a gallon for a lot more cost. The USAF failed to include the fact that the B-52 would take on a lot less airborne fuel and the cost savings associated with that. Maybe they were afraid to reduce - the already very low - utilization of the KC-135 fleet. Whicj is why they're good till 2040.

Others, factoring the cost savings of reduced aerial gas delivery, calculated the USAF would have made a massive return on a re-engine investment of the B-52. not to speak of the capability improvements.

I wouldn't be surprised if tanker interests didn't play a role.
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:15 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 6):
What plane in your data base achieved what the SR-71 did?

None.

But it wholly depends on the yardstick you apply. A toad is always extremely advanced and world-class at the stuff a toad normally does.

I just find it unfair to other one-of-a-kind aircraft like the Concorde, the RB-57... 


David
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Cadet985
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:20 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
Even today, it would be almost impossible to shoot it down. Not even a F-22 could do it. You'd need rockets going faster than Mach 5 with a good range to catch it and fired at just the right moment to have even the smallest chance.

All it takes is one lucky shot. Think back to Francis Gary Powers and Rudolf Anderson. That's all it took.

Marc
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:43 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
That's why the KC-46 is a total waste of money. There has to be a better justification than the simple fact that they're old, to replace an old frame, IMHO.

Thank you!!

The KC-46 never had to do with military needs. It came from my area -- corporate greed. So I am always glad when people know the truth.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 5):
And all that done in just a couple of years from conception to first flight, before the use of computers, while our much more benign aircraft today take forever to get into service.

So important to realize this. Modern "project management" separates everything out into years instead of weeks. If you get key players into a room for 1 month, shut the doors, and give them pen & paper, they can accomplish nearly anything. But this rarely happens in our "cubicle modern world."

You see Elon Musk's Tesla S sedan also... thanks to quick organizational design, they leapfrogged the car industry. It is Automobile Magazine's car of the year.
 
KC135Hydraulics
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:57 pm

I think I can speak about the KC-135 from a maintenance standpoint. It's a piece of junk to work on and I hate it. I'll be glad when they're all gone and we're working on an aircraft with modern systems and modern design philosophies. True, the KC-135 has persevered for many years and could conceivably continue to do so for a while longer, but the amount of work and expensive that goes into maintaining a 50 year old airframe is extreme. The B-52 maintainers could likely tell you a similar story.

On the other side of that, I also work on C-17s and it's a complete dream to work on because it was designed well, where parts are easy to get to with high reliability. Even if the C-17 were to fly for 30 more years, it'll still be a physically easier aircraft to maintain. That's why I am excited for the KC-46.
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:05 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 10):
The USAF missed a great opportunity and did not re engine her. The reasoning is so dumb, I seems deliberate.

They said the savings in gas would not make a reasonable return on the capital investment to re engine the B-52. The "error" was that they used the price of gas on the ground, not factoring in the fact that aerial tankers deliver a gallon for a lot more cost.

Unless you have a war all aerial refuelings of the Buff are practice refuelings. You wouldn't make less practice refuelings just because it had more fuel efficient engines.

BTW, many practice refuelings, if not most, are dry runs. And when not dry, then it is to test that fuel really flows as it should rather than to stretch the flight.

In reality, reengining the Buff with modern engines would be an economic advantage if the US of A counts on using them over the next couple of decades to convert the opposite side of planet Earth into Moon landscape, otherwise not so much.
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135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:42 pm

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 14):
the KC-135 has persevered for many years and could conceivably continue to do so for a while longer, but the amount of work and expensive that goes into maintaining a 50 year old airframe is extreme. The B-52 maintainers could likely tell you a similar story.

People forget that as the frame gets older it gets harder to maintain. Spare parts are harder and harder to get and the heavy maintenance and scheduled maintance checks get longer and harder to do.

Yes, the AF bought a bunch of retired 707's and stored them for spares... but a lot of people don't know that the 707 and KC-135 are completely different airframes between the cockpit door and tail pressure/bulkhead. The main reason for the "spares" are for the tail sections. Those are mainly the only components they share. Different body width, wings, flaps, wheels, tires, brakes, gear etc...

Regards,
135Mech
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KC135Hydraulics
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:08 pm

Quoting 135mech (Reply 16):
People forget that as the frame gets older it gets harder to maintain. Spare parts are harder and harder to get and the heavy maintenance and scheduled maintance checks get longer and harder to do.

I don't forget... I am reminded daily! The day I'm done working on the 135 I'll say good riddance. I've got no love for this plane. Of course I'm not blaming the engineers that designed it 60 years ago though, they didn't know better. This was an expendible airframe that journeyed on way longer than they originally intended.
MSgt, USAF
KC-135R / C-17A Pneudraulic Systems Mechanic Supervisor
 
135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:44 pm

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 17):
The day I'm done working on the 135 I'll say good riddance. I've got no love for this plane. Of course I'm not blaming the engineers that designed it 60 years ago though, they didn't know better. This was an expendible airframe that journeyed on way longer than they originally intended

LOL... well once you get to another airframe (like this god-forsaken B-1) you will truly miss the "ease" of the KC-135! No joke! My office co-worker is Hydro and is still baffled by this P.O.S... we miss our "flying EVERY day tankers!" LOL

The tanker and the Buff were NEVER originally expected to carry on for so long... and they have done it well. But, it's amazing that some threads on here, people say that the KC-46 is a waste and we don't need them... Just let the 135 keep working... eventually age takes it's toll on even the old (don't build them like they used to) planes!

Btw... love that museum you guys have there! I know the guy (retired Chief now) that used to crew that tanker!

135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:51 pm

Quoting 135mech (Reply 18):
LOL... well once you get to another airframe (like this god-forsaken B-1) you will truly miss the "ease" of the KC-135! No joke! My office co-worker is Hydro and is still baffled by this P.O.S... we miss our "flying EVERY day tankers!" LOL

I'm currently deployed to Al Udeid AB and we have B-1s here. I got to take a tour of one the other day and it is a complete hydraulic disaster. They keep drip pans and buckets under the jet to catch the fluid leaking out. The concrete underneath their jets is permanently stained black from the hydraulic leaks. I couldn't even imagine what it's like to be a hydro troop on that nightmare. KC-135s suck because they're old, B-1s suck because they're pigs.
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KC-135R / C-17A Pneudraulic Systems Mechanic Supervisor
 
135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:30 pm

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 19):
I'm currently deployed to Al Udeid AB and we have B-1s here. I got to take a tour of one the other day and it is a complete hydraulic disaster. They keep drip pans and buckets under the jet to catch the fluid leaking out. The concrete underneath their jets is permanently stained black from the hydraulic leaks. I couldn't even imagine what it's like to be a hydro troop on that nightmare. KC-135s suck because they're old, B-1s suck because they're pigs.

So very true! They "brag" about 40% MC rates here (our unit is there now)... hahahahaha... Told them that if a Tanker unit dropped to 50%...wing commanders get fired... they just stared at me!

Stay safe over there!

135Mech
135Mech
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:02 pm

A non-military friend of mine once asked why the USAF decided to retire the SR-71 andI couldn't help but smile and say "That's because they have something to replace it."
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
jetstar
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:54 pm

Quoting 135mech (Reply 16):
People forget that as the frame gets older it gets harder to maintain. Spare parts are harder and harder to get and the heavy maintenance and scheduled maintance checks get longer and harder to do.

Yes, the AF bought a bunch of retired 707's and stored them for spares... but a lot of people don't know that the 707 and KC-135 are completely different airframes between the cockpit door and tail pressure/bulkhead. The main reason for the "spares" are for the tail sections. Those are mainly the only components they share. Different body width, wings, flaps, wheels, tires, brakes, gear etc...

Regards,
135Mech

Besides all those other parts, they also used the low by-pass fan engines from the 707’s the USAF bought up to re-engine those KC-135’s that did not receive the newer CFM engines.

JetStar
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:24 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 3):
A basic truck doesn't need to be replaced with another basic truck, if it still works perfectly well and safely. Same for the KC-135 and the other subsonic carriers. That's why the KC-46 is a total waste of money. There has to be a better justification than the simple fact that they're old, to replace an old frame, IMHO.

The USAF can continue for decades more on all those frames without any issue. Matter of fact the entire KC-135 fleet has one of the highest readiness rates of all USAF types. Year of manufacture has almost nothing to do with capability, effectiveness and readiness.

I read in an aviation magazine recently one of the problems with both the KC-135’s and the B-52 is both corrosion and metal fatigue.

The article quoted an engineer and he said that today’s aluminum alloys are a lot better in preventing corrosion and resisting metal fatigue that the aluminum they had available 50 years ago.

The Boeing 707 was originally designed with an airframe life of 30,000 hours because that was the airframe life of the piston powered airliners all the manufacturers were building. When the airlines realized they could fly these jets far more often than the previous operated piston airliners, they started to reach the airframe life limits much sooner than expected and Boeing had to come up with life extension programs to increase the airframe life, one of them that comes to mind on the B-707 was the crown section above the wings, I believe they had to either reinforce or replace these sections because of fatigue cracking.

I do not agree they should scrap the KC-46 program and just keep on flying the KC-135’s, no matter how much maintenance you do on the KC-135, you can’t stop metal fatigue or internal metal corrosion without jacking up the fuel caps and replacing the entire airplane with a new build KC-135. It just reaches a point when where you have to start replacing major airframe sections like the wing boxes or the wings or even the fuselage because of fatigue or corrosion then you have now reached the economic point as to whether it is cheaper to replace than to continue repairing the airplane.

JetStar
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:32 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 21):
A non-military friend of mine once asked why the USAF decided to retire the SR-71 andI couldn't help but smile and say "That's because they have something to replace it."

Satellites.
 
135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:10 pm

Quoting jetstar (Reply 23):
I read in an aviation magazine recently one of the problems with both the KC-135’s and the B-52 is both corrosion and metal fatigue.

The article quoted an engineer and he said that today’s aluminum alloys are a lot better in preventing corrosion and resisting metal fatigue that the aluminum they had available 50 years ago.

The Boeing 707 was originally designed with an airframe life of 30,000 hours because that was the airframe life of the piston powered airliners all the manufacturers were building. When the airlines realized they could fly these jets far more often than the previous operated piston airliners, they started to reach the airframe life limits much sooner than expected and Boeing had to come up with life extension programs to increase the airframe life, one of them that comes to mind on the B-707 was the crown section above the wings, I believe they had to either reinforce or replace these sections because of fatigue cracking.

I do not agree they should scrap the KC-46 program and just keep on flying the KC-135’s, no matter how much maintenance you do on the KC-135, you can’t stop metal fatigue or internal metal corrosion without jacking up the fuel caps and replacing the entire airplane with a new build KC-135. It just reaches a point when where you have to start replacing major airframe sections like the wing boxes or the wings or even the fuselage because of fatigue or corrosion then you have now reached the economic point as to whether it is cheaper to replace than to continue repairing the airplane.

JetStar



The corrosion part is true! When the KC-135 was built, due to it's most advanced (at the time) aluminum alloy metals, it was deemed/given a 100 year shelf life for fatigue (somewhere I have the original PDF converted report)...the unknown was the "corrosion" possibilities/effects; as they did not have "sufficient time" or "methods" to truly test corrosion effects on the new alloys.

In the late 80's Boeing and the AF were finding unbelievable amounts of corrosion and actually retired and dismantled some higher hour/cycle heavily corroded airframes to find out why/where the corrosion was. Come to find out it was mostly internal corrosion from being stationed in places like Okinawa, Guam, Lajes, etc where the salt air was getting into the frame and the normal washes/cleaning were NOT caring for the jets as they had hoped. After they dismantled some airframes (including my first plane) they had to establish new and fairly urgent procedures for placement of tails worldwide. From then on, places that have high salt air are restricted to a standard 2 year maximum (unless waived) assignment at those locations and must be reassigned to low corrosion places like Grand Forks (no longer has Tankers as of Dec 2010), McConnell, and Fairchild AFB's.

The fatigue was not due to the skin and the aluminum alloy metals, it was [because in the early to mid-90's] the ramping up of using the "cargo" capability of the aircraft. We had never really (regularly) used them specifically for "cargo" missions because of the many other cargo planes. The C-141 started to have it's wing issues and became restricted and then later retired, and the C-17's were still being built and we didn't have enough yet. So, the AF said "Hey... those are cargo planes...use them as such"...and did not realize the consequences. The result ended up being that the "stringer ties" that held the body together around the center wing box, were strained heavily to breaking and quickly becoming a huge safety/structure issue. So, in the Phase/Isochronal inspections, we started having to peel back insulation and removing seats for every inspection to identify and fix these problems, which led to severely cutting back the "use" of them specifically as cargo planes.

The photo was my first plane, that was specifically sent to be dismantled for this corrosion investigation as it had spent 14 years in England and stuck in Lajes for months at a time on "alert" duties. A different tail, had been sent to Depot 2 years prior for it's "normal" 4 year inspection and was so horrific that it never flew again and helped start the massive inspections/investigations per se.

Regards,
135Mech

Mildenhall Air Fete EC-135H Demonstration Crew 1991
135Mech
 
planesofthepast
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:44 pm

The B-52 has truly been an amazingly successful aircraft. I'm still in awe when I watch them lumber in on their long approaches to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana.

I'm currently on a project to photograph as many of the B-52 "survivors" that I can, i.e., those not in active service. My initial results are posted at ...

http://www.planesofthepast.com/b52-stratofortress.htm
 
135mech
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:07 am

Quoting planesofthepast (Reply 26):
I'm currently on a project to photograph as many of the B-52 "survivors" that I can, i.e., those not in active service. My initial results are posted at ...

http://www.planesofthepast.com/b52-s...s.htm

Nice collection so far! Edwards AFB, if you can make it there, has two on display... the one at the "North Gate" is the infamous "Balls 8" aka 0008. The flying launch bed for NASA and Edwards' test program for more than 40 years!

135Mech
135Mech
 
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:39 am

Still one has to imagine the difference that could be had by swapping over the TF-33's to say JD8-200's like they are doing on the E-3
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
bustin
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RE: 50 Years Ago Last B-52 Built Delivered To Air Forc

Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:18 pm

Anyone know where I can find a database of all the B-52's? Where they are the serials and history of each aircraft?

I'm looking for information on the B-52's (Or any SAC aircraft) that operated from Morón AFB, Spain since the Cold War to the present.

Best Regards

Bustin

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