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mmx747
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Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:07 am

Like it says above, would a passenger variant of the B-52 have worked out/ been possible back in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s? Of course with a slightly modified fuselage. Just like the Soviets based the Tu-114 of the Tu-95.


(Please move this to the appropriate thread if this one is not correct. And if there is already a topic on this please delete this thread).
 
TC957
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant even have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:11 am

Good grief ! Can you imagine the reliability and operating economies of that plane in passenger form ?
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:16 am

I suppose you could say anything's possible if the will is there, but really there are very few aircraft ever flown that are less suitable for use as a pax aircraft than a B52. For a start, it's got a pretty narrow fuselage. It would probably be a nightmare for ground handling and for airborne handling, not much better. Responsiveness is not one of its key virtues! Its CASM numbers would have been interesting!

Might work very well as a small package delivery aircraft; it's certainly intended for vertical delivery of "cargo" ... Fed Ex might have missed a trick here!
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:18 am

Soviet Tu-114 is an example. Not the most reliable plane, plus got outdated quickly.
 
spahrtan
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:34 am

Boeing did have some history with this, the B-29 being the basis for the 377 Stratocruiser. With similar modifications to the B-52 as they did with the B-29, it would be an interesting aircraft to say the least.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:37 am

Doable? Sure. Sensible? No.

It's worth noting that bombs are a really dense payload compared to people who want little things like more space than a coffin.

If for some reason you were to attempt it you would want to do something like the Stratocruiser and slap a brand new fuselage on it. Something more appropriate for passenger cargo.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:48 am

It was planned at one point, shortly after the F-101 executive jet was proposed. Sadly, neither came to be.
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YIMBY
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:54 am

It would have been possible, with a modified fuselage, probably more than slightly.

It might have been viable, if there were no resources to develop a proper passenger aircraft, no development in engines and other technology and no competition. Given all these were untrue, it would have had no chance in markets.

Otherwise it is amazing how such an old design has survived so long.

We might equally ask why there were no bomber version of 707 or 747, with a modified fuselage. Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:09 am

anrec80 wrote:
Soviet Tu-114 is an example. Not the most reliable plane, plus got outdated quickly.


While yes, the TU114 was sort of a TU-95 derivative. It is actually only the wings and engines that where transfered. Cabin was bigger, new stabilizers/flaps/nose gear, wing was lower. Hardly the same plane.

Secondly, the TU-114 was perhaps the most reliable plane out there, not the most comfortable aircraft, but you can't say it was unreliable.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:32 am

YIMBY wrote:
It would have been possible, with a modified fuselage, probably more than slightly.

It might have been viable, if there were no resources to develop a proper passenger aircraft, no development in engines and other technology and no competition. Given all these were untrue, it would have had no chance in markets.

Otherwise it is amazing how such an old design has survived so long.

We might equally ask why there were no bomber version of 707 or 747, with a modified fuselage. Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?


Start with the 707/747 modification first - the circular fuselage for pressurization is a waste for hauling bombs. You also need the main deck to hold the plane together, so you need to replace that load path to do a full height bomb bay on an existing 707/747 bomber. If you don't want to go full height for the bomb bay, what is the point. So you essentially need to replace the fuselage to improve the operating economics of carrying around excess fuselage structure you don't need..

Going the other way with the B-52, again the fuselage is optimized for the bomber mission. The slab sides work for the unpressurized area behind the pressurized cockpit. Put passengers back there and you need an efficient fuselage shape to contain pressure, as close to circular as possible. Enclosing the small volume of the cockpit with brute force works for that small volume, brute force over the length of the entire fuselage is not viable due to the weight. Add in the landing gear provisions that will take up space in the cabin. Raise the cabin floor to go over the landing gear, and increase the height of the wing relative to the ground, you need to do larger out rigger gear legs. What am I gaining over a clean sheet design?
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:35 am

I see a big problem, and that is the wingbox for a swept wing being much larger and more intrusive than the spars for a straight wing. The B-29 had a mid wing, and I presume that the bomb bay was arranged so that the wing spars passed through it with only a short intrusion. When atomic bombs were carried they were carried forward of the spars; apparently this did not push the CG too far forward. When the KC-97/Stratocruiser was developed a much larger diameter tube was grafted on to the relatively small diameter B-29 fuselage so that the floor would be above the wing spars, and since the wing was in the middle of the original fuselage this did not result in an unacceptable fuselage height. It may have resulted in less axial stability than desired, as the original design had very little dihedral, which was suitable for a mid wing but less than was generally used on a low wing airliner such as the DC-6. But the Stratocruiser had effectively become a low wing instead of a mid wing.

Taking this same approach to the B-52 is problematic. The B-52 is no longer a mid wing plane, it is a high wing. And that wing has no dihedral at all, in fact, on the ground it has anhedral (but from pictures I have seen that disappears in the air.) This, I suspect, is because it was designed from the beginning to carry nuclear bombs that were likely to be much heavier than those carried by the B-29, and needed to go under the wigbox, which because of the swept wing would take up much more space than the wing spars of the B-29. So the wing had to go on top. This means that putting a passenger fuselage on top of the existing fuselage would be much less practical, as the floor would have to be above the wingbox making it much taller than the Stratocruiser had been. This meant both more drag (and since it would be going much faster much more of an issue than for the Stratocruiser) and less stability. So I think that is why they never tried it.

Of course the other approach could have been to simply make a new, larger fuselage and put the B-52 wing on top of it, but that would be a completely new plane except for the wing and Boeing went with the 367-80 instead, which was much more suitable for passengers.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:39 am

What would the purpose have been?
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PanHAM
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:08 am

that would have given a whole new meaning to the term "drop off some passengers."
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:13 am

Only the front section of the B-52 is pressurized. There was a pressurized pod for the lonely tail gunner...until it was removed. The wing goes right through the middle of the fuselage too. So you can't replace bombs with passengers.

There is a good reason why all modern airliners look practically the same, except for the remaining T-tail MD-80's. Low wing with hanging engines, circular fuselage...you walk on top of the wing as you move to the back of the plane. This still allows cargo in front/behind the wing below the floor. The engines under the wings actually make the plane lighter since they provide a counter-weight to lift force.

Until some new technology comes along...expect all airliners in the future to look like a 787/A350. There is no reason to change the configuration...it is the most efficient. Don't hold your breath for supersonic or blended wing either -- they both have bigger cons than pros. Even young A.netters are likely to never fly on anything other than the current tube with low wing design.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:16 am

Reading all the poeple saying "yeah It could be done", if you add a new fuselage, or new this and new that. It simply means "no it cant ben done", you desing a new plane.
You can't pressurize the cabin and drop some seats here and there and you get the B52-passenger, it's just a very simple no go.

What the soviets did was a big prestige project which turned out well, but it could just have well been a very big flop.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:32 am

Some incredibly rude answers here. To those posters, screw you.

To the OP: it's an interesting thought experiment. As others have stated a new body would certainly be needed with full pressure vessel, and the cabin shape would be compromised by that enormous wing. But say it could indeed be done.....

The B-52 was a long range machine using early turbojets. Later models were updated to the first turbofans, but they still had eight to feed. That was never going to work in the civil field where carrying that much fuel would have raised eyebrows. Also the eight burning was to allow for redundancy. It also increases maintenance costs hugely with eight motors to look after.

If anything a B-47 derivative might have been a more practical design. Boeing instead put their designers to work and came up with a 4-engine low mounted wing design and the rest is history.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:41 am

anrec80 wrote:
Soviet Tu-114 is an example. Not the most reliable plane, plus got outdated quickly.

I thought the main problem with that was the coming of jet age and the supersonic prop that aren't really common to other aircraft with similar role in other countries?
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:18 pm

YIMBY wrote:
It would have been possible, with a modified fuselage, probably more than slightly.

It might have been viable, if there were no resources to develop a proper passenger aircraft, no development in engines and other technology and no competition. Given all these were untrue, it would have had no chance in markets.

Otherwise it is amazing how such an old design has survived so long.

We might equally ask why there were no bomber version of 707 or 747, with a modified fuselage. Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?


Actually the mighty, often called obsolete on line here, 737 is an ultra-modern war plane with an astounding set of armaments,

5 internal and 6 external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, Mark 54 torpedo, missiles, mines, torpedoes, bombs, and a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon system
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EBJ68
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:34 pm

I don't believe the TU-114 had supersonic propellers. From what I've read about those, the noise and vibrations were so intense as to cause significant physical discomfort to ground personnel.
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:02 pm

scbriml wrote:
It was planned at one point, shortly after the F-101 executive jet was proposed. Sadly, neither came to be.


Post of the year right here.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:06 pm

FlyRow wrote:
the TU-114 was perhaps the most reliable plane out there, not the most comfortable aircraft, but you can't say it was unreliable.

I flew on one from SVO-YUL in the 60s, as sub for the scheduled IL-62 which was to fly SVO-SNN-YUL.

It was noisy in the front, not too bad in the back where we sat ... but it was very very comfortable.
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FlyRow
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:15 pm

longhauler wrote:
FlyRow wrote:
the TU-114 was perhaps the most reliable plane out there, not the most comfortable aircraft, but you can't say it was unreliable.

I flew on one from SVO-YUL in the 60s, as sub for the scheduled IL-62 which was to fly SVO-SNN-YUL.

It was noisy in the front, not too bad in the back where we sat ... but it was very very comfortable.


I meant the noise/vibrations levels indeed. Hard product was very un-soviet with 3 classes of service.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:19 pm

Channex757 wrote:
The B-52 was a long range machine using early turbojets. Later models were updated to the first turbofans, but they still had eight to feed. That was never going to work in the civil field where carrying that much fuel would have raised eyebrows. Also the eight burning was to allow for redundancy. It also increases maintenance costs hugely with eight motors to look after.

If anything a B-47 derivative might have been a more practical design. Boeing instead put their designers to work and came up with a 4-engine low mounted wing design and the rest is history.

Indeed.

B-52's first flight was 15 April 1952.

Dash 80's first flight was July 15, 1954.

The result was (IMHO) stunning:

Image

These days it takes longer than two years to do a stretch with a bit of fiddling with the landing gear (I'm looking at you, MAX10!).

Back in the 50s it seems they weren't intimidated by doing things on a big scale, they just got out the slide rules and went to work.
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WIederling
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:35 pm

SEPilot wrote:
When the KC-97/Stratocruiser was developed a much larger diameter tube was grafted on to the relatively small diameter B-29 fuselage so that the floor would be above the wing spars, and since the wing was in the middle of the original fuselage this did not result in an unacceptable fuselage height.


The KC-97 ( and B377) is a double bubble fuselage. the lower bubble appears to correspond to the original fuselage B-29/B-50
the conversion has more in common with what was later done to the guppies ( expanded upper bubble )
and the A300-600ST ( upper fuselage removed, bubble hold added.)

The earlier B307 derived from the B-17 is a different beast. It got a brand new circular fuselage.

There was a planned passenger liner derived from the Victor V bomber around.Handley Page HP.111
Image
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:49 pm

FrmrKSEngr wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
....


Start with the 707/747 modification first - the circular fuselage for pressurization is a waste for hauling bombs. You also need the main deck to hold the plane together, so you need to replace that load path to do a full height bomb bay on an existing 707/747 bomber. If you don't want to go full height for the bomb bay, what is the point. So you essentially need to replace the fuselage to improve the operating economics of carrying around excess fuselage structure you don't need..


I’d like to re-visit the 747/707 bomber idea. First, you would want to put a bulkhead behind the cockpit as there is little need to pressurize the bomb bay. Next, you would need to figure out a location for a bay door. Tossing them out one or more existing cargo doors would be fraught with problems, the least of these would be the targeting accuracy as they flail in the slip-stream before falling down. You pointed out lack of vertical bomb storage space. I agree, but who says they have to be stored vertically? It would be feasible to have only one bomb bay door near the CG point and mount bomb racks on a chain that pulls them over the opening so they can use gravity delivery. Between the bulkhead and chain delivery system, you’re not wasting a lot of the capacity of the aircraft.
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sixtyseven
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:02 pm

Be a great “unruly passenger” delivery vehicle.
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sixtyseven
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:03 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
FrmrKSEngr wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
....


Start with the 707/747 modification first - the circular fuselage for pressurization is a waste for hauling bombs. You also need the main deck to hold the plane together, so you need to replace that load path to do a full height bomb bay on an existing 707/747 bomber. If you don't want to go full height for the bomb bay, what is the point. So you essentially need to replace the fuselage to improve the operating economics of carrying around excess fuselage structure you don't need..


I’d like to re-visit the 747/707 bomber idea. First, you would want to put a bulkhead behind the cockpit as there is little need to pressurize the bomb bay. Next, you would need to figure out a location for a bay door. Tossing them out one or more existing cargo doors would be fraught with problems, the least of these would be the targeting accuracy as they flail in the slip-stream before falling down. You pointed out lack of vertical bomb storage space. I agree, but who says they have to be stored vertically? It would be feasible to have only one bomb bay door near the CG point and mount bomb racks on a chain that pulls them over the opening so they can use gravity delivery. Between the bulkhead and chain delivery system, you’re not wasting a lot of the capacity of the aircraft.


Always thought the Concorde would have made a great medium Cold War bomber.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:13 pm

A B-52 would do a fine job of transporting snowballs in hell.
 
Arion640
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:15 pm

mmx747 wrote:
Like it says above, would a passenger variant of the B-52 have worked out/ been possible back in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s? Of course with a slightly modified fuselage. Just like the Soviets based the Tu-114 of the Tu-95.


(Please move this to the appropriate thread if this one is not correct. And if there is already a topic on this please delete this thread).


Did a video recently released on to youtube about the Tu114 prompt you to make this thread?
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:38 pm

Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?


Perhaps the Comet, although not used as a bomber in the conventional World War Two sense of the word. There was a DH 111 Comet bomber proposal, although some Googling indicates that the design wasn't popular due to weapons fit and carriage issues, but I can't find more than that vague description. Given that the Comet was a low wing monoplane, perhaps the bomb bay and wing spar issues that have been discussed previously in the thread also played a role in the 111's failure? The Comet also morphed into the Nimrod, a nicely capable and armed ASW platform, so I suppose you could call her a bomber. I always loved the AWACs AEW.3 version that never quite made it; so odd and fugly that it just looked awesome!

Although not a jet, I've always been fascinated with the many ways the Brits got more life out of the Lancaster and its design: Lancaster bomber, Shackleton patrol aircraft, Lancastrian transport... Certainly none of these conversions would be as efficient as clean sheet designs, but they are interesting to look at and to trace how the powers that be took an existing aircraft intended for something else entirely and transformed them into planes fit for very different missions.

Bob
 
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longhauler
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:38 pm

FlyRow wrote:
I meant the noise/vibrations levels indeed. Hard product was very un-soviet with 3 classes of service.

When I flew on it in the summer of 1969, it was only two class. Two large economy cabins 3 x 3 in the front and first class in the rear 2 x 2. There were however, what appeared to be 4 "bedrooms" that looked like something out of a railway carriage between the centre galley and first class. They were not being used,

The noise/vibration was considerable in line with the engines, but back in the rear where we sat, it was about the same as a Vanguard.
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:53 pm

Arion640 wrote:
mmx747 wrote:
Like it says above, would a passenger variant of the B-52 have worked out/ been possible back in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s? Of course with a slightly modified fuselage. Just like the Soviets based the Tu-114 of the Tu-95.


(Please move this to the appropriate thread if this one is not correct. And if there is already a topic on this please delete this thread).


Did a video recently released on to youtube about the Tu114 prompt you to make this thread?


This one?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22H8M8h6Hdo
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:58 pm

global2 wrote:
Arion640 wrote:
mmx747 wrote:
Like it says above, would a passenger variant of the B-52 have worked out/ been possible back in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s? Of course with a slightly modified fuselage. Just like the Soviets based the Tu-114 of the Tu-95.


(Please move this to the appropriate thread if this one is not correct. And if there is already a topic on this please delete this thread).


Did a video recently released on to youtube about the Tu114 prompt you to make this thread?


This one?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22H8M8h6Hdo


Yeah, i watched it yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if the thread starter watched it too.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:04 pm

Aptivaboy wrote:
Although not a jet, I've always been fascinated with the many ways the Brits got more life out of the Lancaster and its design: Lancaster bomber, Shackleton patrol aircraft, Lancastrian transport... Certainly none of these conversions would be as efficient as clean sheet designs, but they are interesting to look at and to trace how the powers that be took an existing aircraft intended for something else entirely and transformed them into planes fit for very different missions.

Bob

The biggest plus for those aircraft? Spares. At the end of the war, Freddie Laker made his first fortune dealing in the vast stocks of spares left redundant following cessation of hostilities.

The Merlin and Griffin engines had plenty of brand new and reconditioned spares so airlines got up and running with converted bombers at fairly handy money. Engines were the biggest moneymaker for Laker.
 
mikejepp
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:04 pm

I personally think the passenger variant of the B-36, the C-99, was pretty neat. Too bad it never amounted to anything....

Image
 
Flighty
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:08 pm

YIMBY wrote:
It would have been possible, with a modified fuselage, probably more than slightly.

It might have been viable, if there were no resources to develop a proper passenger aircraft, no development in engines and other technology and no competition. Given all these were untrue, it would have had no chance in markets.

Otherwise it is amazing how such an old design has survived so long.

We might equally ask why there were no bomber version of 707 or 747, with a modified fuselage. Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?


I would suggest 707 benefitted from B-52 research. The B-52 first flew in April 1952.

From wiki: "During 1949–1950, Boeing embarked on studies for a new jet transport, realizing that any design must be aimed at both the military and civilian markets. (...) With the advent of the Jet Age, a new tanker was required to meet the USAF's fleet of jet-powered bombers; this was where Boeing's new design would potentially win military orders."

So, B-52 was designed as a no-compromises bomber with national security literally dependent on its effectiveness. Dash-80 / 707 / KC-135 was designed alongside the B-52 bomber as a _system_ for global reach. The tanker/transport was always envisioned as a civil/military dual use aircraft.

"The "Dash 80" took less than two years from project launch in 1952 to rollout on May 14, 1954, then first flew on July 15, 1954."

Even in 1953-54, the B-52 was never thought of as a civil airliner. The 707 itself would be quite expensive and revolutionary. The B-52 would be more analogous to a military spaceship, unthinkable for civil use.
 
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:15 pm

YIMBY wrote:
It would have been possible, with a modified fuselage, probably more than slightly.

It might have been viable, if there were no resources to develop a proper passenger aircraft, no development in engines and other technology and no competition. Given all these were untrue, it would have had no chance in markets.

Otherwise it is amazing how such an old design has survived so long.

We might equally ask why there were no bomber version of 707 or 747, with a modified fuselage. Is there any good or even bad example of a western jet plane type that was used both as a bomber and a passenger plane with some slight modifications?


I know that the aircraft below are not jets but I find that the modifications made to them to make them military/commercial are very interesting, (Lancaster to Lancastrian, DC-2 to B-18, Electra to Orion). I'm sure there are others

 
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DrPaul
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:16 pm

WIederling wrote:
There was a planned passenger liner derived from the Victor V bomber around Handley Page HP.111
Image.


Looking at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Victor
, there were several projected transport/airliner developments of the Victor:

HP.96 -- Proposed military transport of 1950 with new fuselage carrying 85 troops. Unbuilt.
HP.97 -- 1950 civil airliner project. Not built.
HP.101 -- Proposed military transport version of HP.97. Not built.
HP.111 -- 1958 project for military or civil transport, powered by four Conway engines. Capacity for 200 troops in military version or 145 passengers in airliner in a double-decker fuselage.
HP.123 -- Proposed military tactical transport based on HP.111 and fitted with blown flaps. Rejected in favour of Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 [which was a C-141-type of plane, itself never built].

There were also projected transport/airliner variants of the Avro Vulcan, the Atlantic -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Atlantic -- and the Vickers Valiant, the V-1000 or VC-7 -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_V-1000. The latter was to be rather bigger than the Valiant and about the size of the Boeing 707 or Douglas DC-8; whether it could have competed successfully with them had it entered production as projected in the late 1950s is a moot point; one of the problems with the British aviation was that it was unable to produce planes in the quantities that US ones could. As for the Atlantic, I would very much have liked to have seen a delta-wing airliner going over my house into Heathrow: that would have been quite a sight for a young kid to see. But was it an unrealistic project as an aeroplane (as well, as I suspect, as a commercial proposition)?

Returning to the original question of the B-52, there's also the question of the landing gear: would the tandem bogies with outriggers arrangement have been suitable, or would a more conventional arrangement have been necessary? If the latter, then perhaps the wings would needed to have been redesigned.

Thinking about conversions that actually happened, such as the Avro Lancastrian (from the Lancaster) and the Handley Page Halton (from the Halifax), or where wings were matched with a new fuselage, such as the Avro York (Lancaster wings) and Avro Tudor (Lincoln wings), and the Stratocruiser and C-97 from the B-29, I imagine that a lot depended upon how well the plane as a whole or, in the latter cases, the wings met the requirements that a big change of role would bring about, and it seems that this was the case with these planes. We've discussed this to some extent above, but my question is whether the B-52's wings are too different from those on airliners and freighters, too specific to its role as a heavy bomber, to have made the project feasible.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:01 pm

DrPaul wrote:
Thinking about conversions that actually happened, such as the Avro Lancastrian (from the Lancaster) and the Handley Page Halton (from the Halifax), or where wings were matched with a new fuselage, such as the Avro York (Lancaster wings) and Avro Tudor (Lincoln wings), and the Stratocruiser and C-97 from the B-29,

One more for the list, and this time the Brits made quite a decent job of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
The Vickers Viking......

Wikipedia wrote:
To speed development the aircraft used the wing and undercarriage design from the Wellington but the fuselage was new.


And if things had turned out slightly differently, this could have been the shape of the worlds most popular twin-jet.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the world's first jet airliner (yeah, even before the de Havilland Comet !)Image
Wikipedia wrote:
In 1948, on the 39th anniversary of Blériot's crossing of the English Channel, the Type 618 Nene-Viking flew Heathrow–Paris (Villacoublay) in the morning carrying letters to Bleriot's widow and son (secretary of the FAI), who met it at the airport. The flight of 222 miles took only 34 minutes. It then flew back to London in the afternoon
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
LewisNEO
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:03 pm

Revelation wrote:
Channex757 wrote:
The B-52 was a long range machine using early turbojets. Later models were updated to the first turbofans, but they still had eight to feed. That was never going to work in the civil field where carrying that much fuel would have raised eyebrows. Also the eight burning was to allow for redundancy. It also increases maintenance costs hugely with eight motors to look after.

If anything a B-47 derivative might have been a more practical design. Boeing instead put their designers to work and came up with a 4-engine low mounted wing design and the rest is history.

Indeed.

B-52's first flight was 15 April 1952.

Dash 80's first flight was July 15, 1954.

The result was (IMHO) stunning:

Image

These days it takes longer than two years to do a stretch with a bit of fiddling with the landing gear (I'm looking at you, MAX10!).

Back in the 50s it seems they weren't intimidated by doing things on a big scale, they just got out the slide rules and went to work.



Stunning beauty, one of the most awesome airplanes ever. (to see, as I never flown in one)
You are the wind beneath my wings.

Fokker 27, Bombardier Dash 8, Embraer 175 & 195, 727-200, 737-200 & -300 & -400 & -800, 747-400, 767-300, 767-400, DC 10-30, A320-200, A330-200, A330-300, A380.
 
gadFly
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:33 pm

SEPilot wrote:
I see a big problem, and that is the wingbox for a swept wing being much larger and more intrusive than the spars for a straight wing. The B-29 had a mid wing, and I presume that the bomb bay was arranged so that the wing spars passed through it with only a short intrusion. When atomic bombs were carried they were carried forward of the spars; apparently this did not push the CG too far forward. When the KC-97/Stratocruiser was developed a much larger diameter tube was grafted on to the relatively small diameter B-29 fuselage so that the floor would be above the wing spars, and since the wing was in the middle of the original fuselage this did not result in an unacceptable fuselage height. It may have resulted in less axial stability than desired, as the original design had very little dihedral, which was suitable for a mid wing but less than was generally used on a low wing airliner such as the DC-6. But the Stratocruiser had effectively become a low wing instead of a mid wing.

Taking this same approach to the B-52 is problematic. The B-52 is no longer a mid wing plane, it is a high wing. And that wing has no dihedral at all, in fact, on the ground it has anhedral (but from pictures I have seen that disappears in the air.) This, I suspect, is because it was designed from the beginning to carry nuclear bombs that were likely to be much heavier than those carried by the B-29, and needed to go under the wigbox, which because of the swept wing would take up much more space than the wing spars of the B-29. So the wing had to go on top. This means that putting a passenger fuselage on top of the existing fuselage would be much less practical, as the floor would have to be above the wingbox making it much taller than the Stratocruiser had been. This meant both more drag (and since it would be going much faster much more of an issue than for the Stratocruiser) and less stability. So I think that is why they never tried it.

Of course the other approach could have been to simply make a new, larger fuselage and put the B-52 wing on top of it, but that would be a completely new plane except for the wing and Boeing went with the 367-80 instead, which was much more suitable for passengers.


Very nicely put. As the East Germans found out with the Baade 152, this kind of high wingbox swept-wing approach was not ideal for pax:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baade_152
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:38 pm

The biggest plus for those aircraft? Spares. At the end of the war, Freddie Laker made his first fortune dealing in the vast stocks of spares left redundant following cessation of hostilities.

The Merlin and Griffin engines had plenty of brand new and reconditioned spares so airlines got up and running with converted bombers at fairly handy money. Engines were the biggest moneymaker for Laker.


Plus, postwar a cadre of already trained pilots, aircrew and ground personnel to pull from. In the absence of an ability to order Constellations or similar planes due to British governmental interference, these conversions were likely the best that the UK could do at the time. They certainly did the job, though with limitations and issues.

Speaking of Merlins, I always loved how the Canadians slapped Merlins onto the DC-4 and created a much faster, in many ways more capable Canadair North Star. But that, as they say, is a conversation for another thread!

Take care,

Bob
 
Kilopond
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:01 pm

The B-52 contains much more of confiscated Junkers projects than commonly known. And based on the very same roots, there had been a short-lived civil aircraft project, the 152 of the GDR. That might give you an idea how a civil B-52 derivate could have looked like.


Image
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baade_152
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:08 pm

Hmmm... Based upon the dates of test flights and designs, and the fact that the 152 was designed behind the Iron Curtain, it might be fairer to state that the 152 had a lot of B-52 design lineage in it!
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:11 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
FrmrKSEngr wrote:
YIMBY wrote:
....


Start with the 707/747 modification first - the circular fuselage for pressurization is a waste for hauling bombs. You also need the main deck to hold the plane together, so you need to replace that load path to do a full height bomb bay on an existing 707/747 bomber. If you don't want to go full height for the bomb bay, what is the point. So you essentially need to replace the fuselage to improve the operating economics of carrying around excess fuselage structure you don't need..


I’d like to re-visit the 747/707 bomber idea. First, you would want to put a bulkhead behind the cockpit as there is little need to pressurize the bomb bay. Next, you would need to figure out a location for a bay door. Tossing them out one or more existing cargo doors would be fraught with problems, the least of these would be the targeting accuracy as they flail in the slip-stream before falling down. You pointed out lack of vertical bomb storage space. I agree, but who says they have to be stored vertically? It would be feasible to have only one bomb bay door near the CG point and mount bomb racks on a chain that pulls them over the opening so they can use gravity delivery. Between the bulkhead and chain delivery system, you’re not wasting a lot of the capacity of the aircraft.

The problem with making a passenger jet into a bomber is that it must be capable of carrying and dropping a large single bomb, and that must be carried near the CG. And that is right where the wingbox is. So a bomber HAS to be high winged. End of story.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
CowAnon
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:13 pm

DrPaul wrote:
Returning to the original question of the B-52, there's also the question of the landing gear: would the tandem bogies with outriggers arrangement have been suitable, or would a more conventional arrangement have been necessary? If the latter, then perhaps the wings would needed to have been redesigned.

I'm not usually interested in a plane's aesthetics, but I think the B-52's (nearly) unrotated takeoff and landing style looks effortless and classy. Futuristic aircraft designs (non-tube+wing, or even just high-wing designs) might not be conducive to the normal tricycle landing gear configuration, so could we then see unrotated takeoffs and landings being used? From what I've read, the typical upward nose-pitching takeoff and landing is more efficient, but I can't tell whether the B-52 method is merely a disadvantage or a complete showstopper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riEmAvlrynk
 
Kilopond
Posts: 559
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:30 pm

Aptivaboy wrote:
Hmmm... Based upon the dates of test flights and designs, and the fact that the 152 was designed behind the Iron Curtain, it might be fairer to state that the 152 had a lot of B-52 design lineage in it!


No, this timeline doesn‘t proove anything. Keep in mind that there had been a total and complete ban of ANY aviation activities for the FRG, the GDR and Austria untill 1955. Even operating crop dusters had been illegal in those three countries.
 
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DrPaul
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:38 pm

mikejepp wrote:
I personally think the passenger variant of the B-36, the C-99, was pretty neat. Too bad it never amounted to anything....

Image


A sort of A-380 avant la lettre perhaps?
 
jagraham
Posts: 1073
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:44 pm

SEPilot wrote:
exFWAOONW wrote:
FrmrKSEngr wrote:

I’d like to re-visit the 747/707 bomber idea. First, you would want to put a bulkhead behind the cockpit as there is little need to pressurize the bomb bay. Next, you would need to figure out a location for a bay door. Tossing them out one or more existing cargo doors would be fraught with problems, the least of these would be the targeting accuracy as they flail in the slip-stream before falling down. You pointed out lack of vertical bomb storage space. I agree, but who says they have to be stored vertically? It would be feasible to have only one bomb bay door near the CG point and mount bomb racks on a chain that pulls them over the opening so they can use gravity delivery. Between the bulkhead and chain delivery system, you’re not wasting a lot of the capacity of the aircraft.

The problem with making a passenger jet into a bomber is that it must be capable of carrying and dropping a large single bomb, and that must be carried near the CG. And that is right where the wingbox is. So a bomber HAS to be high winged. End of story.


The B-1 is not high winged. There are structural issues with a wing which is not above the bomb bay(s) but it can - and has - been worked around.
 
Aptivaboy
Posts: 898
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Re: Would a B-52 passenger variant have been possible?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:50 pm

I fail to understand your point. The B-52 was originally envisaged in very rough form right after the war, about 1946 or 1947. There is that great story about the basic design being sketched out over dinner and drinks in a hotel restaurant in 1948 after the original prop driven designs weren't liked by the Air Force. It first flew in 1952. On the other hand, the Junkers archived had all either been destroyed or largely captured, in this case mostly by the Soviets as many of the Junkers facilities were apparently within their zone of occupation. Indeed, a great many Junkers personnel, including the 152's chief designer, Brunolf Baade, were taken by the Soviets back to the USSR in late 1945, according to most sources. He remained there until at least 1954 working on Soviet designs, continuing some German initiated research work under Soviet supervision, and helping to rebuild the Junkers factory near Moscow; like a lot of German industry, it or its remains had apparently been scooped up, placed on rail cars and sent back east.

So... I fail to see how the B-52 was a Junkers influenced design in all but perhaps the most esoteric, vague ways. Podded engines were hardly new; many early jets from several countries featured them. Long tubes with wings attached were already in existence. And, while swept wings were really being heavily investigated in Germany and arguably influenced the design of the B-52's forebear, the B-47, their exact design, shape and placement was hardly directly copied. And, Brunolf Baade was perhaps most interested in investigating forward swept wings, so the precise B-47/B-52 design was certainly not something that he was directly connected to in any way, shape or form.

Nope, given the design similarities its more likely that Baade either made his design choices independently of Boeing, or having seen the B-52 imitated parts of it. The OKB-1 150 was also designed in 1948, and also featured podded engines and outrigger landing gear. Baade probably had contact with this plane's design (some source say he did and used it as inspiration for the 152) while in the Soviet Union. Given that the ban on aircraft design in the GDR that you reference wasn't lifted until 1955, long after the B-52 was already long in the air, the cause and effect clearly supports my view. If anything, the B-52 and the OKB-1 150 were contemporaries whose designers faced similar problems and independently came up with similar solutions, solutions that eventually migrated to the 152. But... To say that the B-52 was a Junkers influenced design is, respectfully, highly questionable.

Best regards,

Bob
Last edited by Aptivaboy on Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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