The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a subsonic, jet-powered and a long-range strategic bomber. It was designed and built by Boeing and has been upgraded ever since. It is being operated by the US Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s and is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds worth of payload. Here are some facts about this amazing bomber
18. Right now, B-52s cost $70,000 per flight hour for operating.
17. B-52s delivered 40% of weapons dropped from air during Operation Desert Storm.
16. After the falling of Soviet Union in 1991, 365 B-52s were destroyed following the START treaty. These aircrafts were stripped off of usable parts and chopped into 5 pieces with a 13,000 pound steel blade and were sold for scrap at 12 cents per pound.
15. In 1972, B-52 tail-gunner Albert Moore shot down a MiG-21 over Vietnam. This was the last known incident where a gunner-bomber to shoot down an enemy aircraft.
14. In 1961, a B-52G broke up in midair over Goldsboro, NC. Two nuclear bombs on board were dropped in the process, thankfully they did not detonate. Once the bombs were retrieved, the Air Force found that five of the six stages of the arming sequence had been completed.
13. Early models had cabin temperature problems; the upper-deck would get hot, because it was heated by the sun, while the navigation crew would sit on the cold fuselage floor.
12. The B-52 G models were modified with a curved wing root fairing in order to comply with the SALT II Treaty requirements, cruise missile-capable aircraft had to be identifiable by spy satellites.
11. The navigator and radar navigator sit in the lower deck of the aircraft. These are the two seats that eject downward.
10. In 1964, a B-52 was configured to act as a testbed for investigating structural failures flew through severe turbulence, shearing off its vertical stabilizer. The aircraft was able to continue flying, and landed safely.
9. The B-52 is expected to serve until the 2040s. That’s over 90 years of service.
8. It features a unique ejection system; the lower deck crew eject downward.
7. Its production ended back in 1962 thus making even the youngest B-52 being 53 years old.
6. The B-52 can carry up to 70,000 pounds of ordnance, or the equivalent of 30 fully-loaded Cessna 172s.
5. A total of 744 have been built so far, however, only 85 in active service, with 9 in reserve.
4. It carried the North American X-15 that achieved the record for fastest manned powered aircraft, with a speed of Mach 6.72.
3. During its design phase, some really amazing feats were achieved in aviation and it went through about 6 major redesigns. The YB-52 pictured here is the second-to-last major redesign.
2. It was designed to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War, however, has only taken conventional ordnance during combat missions.
1. The B-52’s first flight was on 15th April, 1952, about 63 years ago.