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Old 12-07-2015, 10:41 PM   #1
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Very nice story about B52 (No Boating Content)

After 60 years, B-52 bombers slow, rusty and frighteningly effective.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:06 PM   #2
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Great planes indeed! for the first 40 years of my life I grew up listening to them and watching them fly overhead. Castle Air Force Base was only 4 miles from my home, and we had to stop talking on the telephone because the noise was so loud you couldn't carry on a conversation even indoors Castle was I believe the most active of all SAC bases in the world in terms of take-offs and landings as it was the primary training base for all B-52 and KC 135 pilots. The base closed in 1995, and we miss the aircraft and the wonderful military people that were part of our community for so many years.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:50 PM   #3
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Back in the mid-90s I produced a marketing video for my employer promoting the re-engining and upgrading of the B-52. The video centered on a record breaking flight attempt to fly the longest distance bombing mission ever (at the time). A B-52H took off from Edwards AFB, flew up the west coast and then out to the farthest Aleutian Island and then flew back to Edwards and dropped a load of bombs.

I interviewed key people involved in the flight including the pilot, who had come up with the idea for the flight. The B-52 he flew was the same plane his father had flown during the Viet Nam war.

Back in the 1980s I produced a two hour moderated panel discussion in our studio by the small team of engineers who had created and presented the B-52 concept to the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio on October 25, 1948. The team had consisted of some very famous Boeing engineers including George Schairer, who'd designed the wing for the B-29, Ed Wells, probably Boeing's most famous engineer sometimes referred to as the father of the B-17, Maynard Pennel, and several others.

The previous Thursday, October 21st they had presented a design for a four-engine turbojet bomber to the Air Force to replace the B-47. It was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response.

Returning to their hotel room they began to design a completely new plane from scratch. By Friday night they had the design pretty well worked out: a four-pod, eight-engine bomber with 35-degree swept wings and a steerable bicycle landing gear.

On Saturday while the rest of the team drew up the design and calculated the performance specs George Schairer paid a visit to a local hobby store for supplies and carved a small balsa wood model of the plane. This model today is in the Boeing archives.

On Monday the team presented the printed and bound drawings and specs along with the model to the Air Force. The plane was given the Boeing model number 464-49. The Air Force gave it the designation B-52 and placed an order for thirteen of them.

The original design called for a tandem cockpit similar to the one on the B-47. After inspecting the full-scale mockup, General Curtis LeMay, then head of SAC, asked for a change. He told me during an interview I did with him on the 50th anniversary of the B-17 that he'd been impressed with the B-52 but not its flight deck. He said he told the company's CEO (Bill Allen) that if Boeing got rid of the tandem cockpit and replaced with a side-by-side flight deck, he'd support the purchase. Otherwise (according to him) he would not recommend the plane to the Air Force.

LeMay said that his request was based on his experience during WWII which taught him that side-by-side seating for a flight crew provided better crew coordination and communications and reduced crew fatigue. As far as he was concerned, any new bomber for SAC had to have a side-by-side flight deck or it was no sale.

Needless to say, Boeing complied. The first two prototypes, the X and Y, had the original tandem cockpit. The subsequent A models had LeMay's side-by-side flight deck.
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Old 12-08-2015, 12:29 AM   #4
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Thanks for the good info, Marin. I think the 52 debut was popularized in the movie, "Bombers B-52" starring Natalie Wood and Karl Malden...
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:40 AM   #5
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What a great aircraft. I've only ever been close to the one at the museum in Darwin but you don't realize how big they are until you get close to one. Often wondered why except in some books of fiction someone never re engines them with four high bypass turbofans?
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:47 AM   #6
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The overnight design of the B52 as related by Marin reminds me of the designing of our Rivercat ferries on the back of an envelope in the Transport Minister`s office one slow afternoon. Difference is, the B52 is a good result, the Rivercats have been undermining rivers banks and breaking down for years. Oh, and the Rivercats never had a band named after them.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:20 AM   #7
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Nice old platform and I was close to them at Warner-Robins SAC Base when it was a SAC base. But if you are really wanting a story on lengthy utility of planes the C-130 needs to be way up on top for versatility, modifications and uses. Still going strong today with new configurations and missions. Lockheed Marietta production.
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:57 PM   #8
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What a great aircraft. I've only ever been close to the one at the museum in Darwin but you don't realize how big they are until you get close to one. Often wondered why except in some books of fiction someone never re engines them with four high bypass turbofans?
Having filmed them from beside the runway taking off from the SAC base in Rome, New York when the Boeing ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile) entered service, I can tell you that the sound is pretty amazing. It actually vibrates your insides.

There was a proposal to replace the eight turbojet engines with four high-bypass turbofan engines back in the 1980s. We (or somebody) installed a turbofan of the type used on the 747 at the time in place of the number three pod on a B-52. The Air Force flew it as a test bed for awhile. It was a strange sight to see the plane taking off with heavy exhaust smoke pouring back from the six turbojets and nothing at all coming off the big turbofan.
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:20 PM   #9
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nice article, thanks for posting
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:45 PM   #10
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Here are a couple of photos off the web of the B-52 turbofan testbed.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:33 PM   #11
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Marin, how exciting it must have been to work so closely with the planes during all those years.


Nice Job Boeing!
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:25 PM   #12
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Marin, how exciting it must have been to work so closely with the planes during all those years.
Mike--- From my perspective it is a very cool industry to be part of. I started with Boeing in 1979 and still have a bit to go before I move on to career #3.

It's a huge company, even back in 1979, and while those of us who do what I do get to experience and work with quite a bit of it as well as our customers around the world, there is a lot more that goes on here that we never have the opportunity to experience or learn about.

My own direct experience with the B-52 is limited to the record flight I described earlier and the introduction of the ALCM to the B-52 SAC fleet. But in the course of other projects I came to know a number of Boeing's real heroes, people like Ed Wells, George Schairer, Maynard Pennel, Tex Johnson and the list goes on.

I'm currently producing a project about the passenger experience on the 787. In the course of this I had the opportunity to meet and interview the man largely responsible for the whole concept behind the airplane's interior. The best aspect of my job is meeting and talking to the people like this who make it all actually happen. Hearing and learning about the psychology and research that went into creating the 787's interior and passenger environment is truly fascinating to me.

From day one at this company I have been amazed at the creativity, vision, skill and talent of the people behind the products, be they aerodynamicists or assembly mechanics.

When I hired in we we still building 707s (for the military) and 727s. From the Dash-80 to the 787, it's been an evolution, not a revolution. It's been quite a ride to be witness to the process.

Go to an airport waiting lounge and you will invariably hear someone, while looking out the window at a 747 or 777 or A380, "I can't believe that thing can fly." I've never had a problem with that. The big planes fly for the same reasons as the little planes I fly.

But even after 36 years and seeing every aspect of our airplanes being built, from being beside the massive wing spar milling machines in Auburn, WA to riding on the arm of one of the 787 fuselage winding machines in South Carolina, I still cannot believe we can actually build one. Not just the fact that the parts can be physically manufactured, but that they all fit (eventually).
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:57 PM   #13
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Many years ago I attended an Air Force oriented air show at Otis AFB in Massachusetts. A B-52 was part of the show. It was parked along the flight line and flew a demo flight for the show. When it was time to spool up the engines preparing for takeoff, the show's narrator warned the crowd to cover their ears because the high-pitched whine of the engines might damage hearing. My goodness those engines were loud. The fly-by of that B-52 at about 100 feet over the runway was spectacular! I love air shows and since I live very near Annapolis I never miss an opportunity to see the Blue Angels perform during graduation week at the Naval Academy. They use the Severn River as their flight line for the show. At the last show the F-18's that made the high speed pass did it a little differently. Normally, the pass is flown down the center of the river at about 50 feet. This year the pilot elected to fly over the crowd on Hospital Point and continued over the soccer field along which are the "box seats" for the "important folks". That F-18 was well below the light standards for night games on the field probably no higher than about 75 feet. The crowd loved it. Brings tears to the eyes.

And, Marin, since you live up there in Washington State, I will share with you that my dad crewed (side blister gunner) on PBYs in the South Pacific (Guadalcanal, Munda Point on New Georgia, and Bougainville). There is a nice PBY museum on Whidbey Island.
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Old 12-10-2015, 09:56 PM   #14
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When I hired in we had a still photographer who had crewed on PBY's after the war. He told me that when they had to do a glassy water landing, one of the more dangerous things one sometimes has to do with a seaplane, he would fire bursts from the forward machine gun into the water out ahead of the plane to give the pilot a reference for judging the plane's height off the water.

A few months ago I was directing a shoot at Moses Lake in central Washington where we were using a new 747-8F to test a new kind of approach system. This was when the fires were still burning pretty bad on the east side of the mountains and there were several fire bombers operating out of Moses Lake. There was a PBY sitting on one of the ramps at the airport. It did not appear to be involved in the fire-fighting and in fact I have no idea if it was even operational. But it looked cool.

I used to see them occasionally at HNL in Hawaii in mid-1970s where I learned to fly and got all my ratings except single-engine sea. One of them belonged to Jacques Cousteau's son, as I recall.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:13 PM   #15
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My uncle flew b-52's for the Air Force and was shot down over New Mexico in about 1962 as a result of a sidewinder missile "fired" during war games. He survived, but 3 of his crew did not. It took 3 days to find him, as wreckage was spread out over 10 square miles (doesn't sound like that big an area, but that is how I remember it). An eagle scout, he credited his boy scout training, not his Air Force survival training, for his survival.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:52 PM   #16
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I found this story interesting...

http://www.historynet.com/mr-stewart...to-vietnam.htm

Jimmy Stewart. One very brave man, as his wartime record shows.


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Old 12-26-2015, 11:31 PM   #17
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Can't read enough Dale Brown's books on the fiction use of the B-52 with modern transformation upgrades (Real or not). Exciting military fiction.

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Old 12-26-2015, 11:43 PM   #18
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Very nice story about B52 (No Boating Content)

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Can't read enough Dale Brown's books on the fiction use of the B-52 with modern transformation upgrades (Real or not). Exciting military fiction.



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And of course, "She" makes an appearance in "Dr. Strangelove".


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