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The old BUFF that's still performing:

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Gatorrari, Apr 15, 2019 at 5:53 PM.

  1. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    On today's date, SIXTY-SEVEN years ago, the first Stratofortress, the YB-52, first took to the sky in Seattle. And yet, its slightly younger descendants (the youngest of which is 57) are still doing their job, and seemingly will for many years to come.

    Whatever you're drinking, raise your glass and make a toast for the mighty BUFF! (The bloody airplane is 8 months older than I am!)
     
  2. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Nov 29, 2003
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    I remember it well. I was on the roof of the camp building and also listened to the radio as Tex flew out to the Puget Sound and then circled around to fly over us and headed east for Moses Lake. The XB-52 was the first but it had a glitch in rear spar load calculations and was grounded at the time until it was fixed.
     
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  3. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    #3 Tcar, Apr 15, 2019 at 8:23 PM
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 8:28 PM
    When I was really small, I remember watching a TV show (B&W of course) in the early 50's about the BUFF, the new bomber... a guy walked out on the wing to the end and bounced up an down on the wing. The wing bounced also.... amazing. Unheard of.

    We had B-47's and B-36's at Kirtland AFB then... as I recall. And a few B-50's. Maybe B-57's also.
     
  4. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I missed the spell checks "correction" of my typing CAMO building. It wasn't "camp" building. The camouflage building near the mid point of the field. I'll always remember Tex stating what time they would arrive at Moses and asking his wife to have some "Jack Rabbit stew ready". It was no different to see the first airborne flight of a B-52 than to see the Stratolaunch today. Two huge airplanes , each the largest at the time. That was 1952 and two years later I was working on the 367-80 and then the KC-135 and 707. Great memories.
     
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  5. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I was glad I got to meet Tex Johnston at one of the Boeing Field events in the early '90s. Ironically, he was signing autographs in front of a B-52 which remains the only one of the type I ever got to climb into the cockpit of.
     
  6. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    "Wings Over the Rockies" museum at the old Lowry AFB in Denver has an RB-52B on pedestals in front of the building (the original hanger for the base).

    A number of years ago, it was at ground level and you could walk up and touch it.
    In fact, for several years on Armed Forces Day, you could climb through the plane. They made you wear a hard had; the spaces are very tight and small inside.
    I was able to crawl through a couple of times.
    No more... the plane was vandalized, so it's now off limits.
     
  7. tazandjan

    tazandjan Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
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    Same thing happened to the XC-99 in San Antonio (Lackland AFB), now at the NM of the USAF being restored.

    The BUFFs are going to be retrofitted with 8 new engines. Should increase range and loiter time significantly. Will also be fitted with the new hypersonic weapon being developed by all three services.
     
  8. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    From what I have heard XC99 had so much mag corrosion from all the years siting in the humidity in San Antonio Wright Pat sent it to Davis Monthan and they decided it was too big a job for their budget. It has been sitting there in pieces for ten years or so. My bet is it gets scrapped at some point.
     
  9. tazandjan

    tazandjan Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Brian- Entirely possible. I have not kept up with the XC-99 saga lately.
     
  10. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Thanks Taz,
    Supposedly won't start doing re-engineing until the late 2020's.... BUFFs will then fly until 2050! That's 100 years since the prototype!
     
  11. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Over 80 years on the newest airframes.
     
  12. Mule

    Mule F1 Rookie
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    The time equivalent of using B-17s in Desert Storm.
     
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  13. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The NEWEST B-52 is 57 years old!
     
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  14. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Couple years ago, there was an article about a BUFF pilot, whose father AND grandfather were both BUFF pilots.
     
  15. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I think that I have mentioned it before. I worked on the X and Y-B-52 in 1952-53. I retired in 1992 and went back later for 4 more years after that, finally hanging it up in 2002. I am almost 93 and that darned airplane will still be going after I'm gone. What a unique machine ! Nothing like it !
     
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  16. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    We ought to get the USAF to name one after you!:D
     
  17. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Like FiFi... it can just say 'BOB' on the nose... ha...
     
  18. Jaguar36

    Jaguar36 Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2010
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    Cherry Hill, NJ
    What amazes me is that they haven't been remanufactured, or significantly upgraded since the H mods. How many flight hours do most of them have? The Chinook is also getting up in the AARP range, but very little remains of what was made in the 60s still flying today.
     
  19. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    I think the Chinook (and the C-130 Hercules) are actually still being manufactured, not just updated.
     
  20. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I think that the B-52's are constantly being checked and structurally maintained. No more low level penetration exercises so it flies at the altitudes for which it was originally designed . That added to its longevity. Changes to more malleable alloys in the wing skins (planks) a while back was one of the big and best things that they did. Sitting here I can go back to watching the first one being put together and recalling the day that a wing plank was dropped while being moved by an overhead crane. Someone figured that instead of a sling, several clamps at the edge provided enough grip to have it moved aloft. Hard and expensive lesson.
     
  21. TimN88

    TimN88 F1 Veteran

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    They are still cranking out J model Hercs down in Marietta. I have picked up two C-5M’s In the last few years from Dobbins and the line was full of all variants; MC’s, AC’s, regular slicks, ones for foreign customers, etc. That’s another design that the taxpayers sure got their money’s worth out of and nothing really does the job as good as they do. These days, though, planes are so expensive that we have no choice but to keep them for a long, long time.
     
  22. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Bob, if you were to hazard a guess, what percentage of the original parts are probably still in a current B-52H?
     
  23. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    I would hate to guess because I haven't been able to keep up with upgrades on the airplane but knowing that the wings had to be re-skinned and beefed up would lead me to believe that maybe 20 percent of the original structure is left. The fuselage structure ahead and aft of the bomb bays is pretty flexible and probably would have had some skins replaced. I would believe that the landing gear, empennage, and struts are all the same. Internal systems are an unknown to me but I'll bet that there is very little original left. You have forced some recall to pop up from the XB-52 initial tests and I may have mentioned it before. When they made the first 100% thrust run up, several trailing edge flaps fell off when the supports sucommed to the super sonic sound waves from the 8 J-57's. The KC-135 suffered from it, too, when the aft fuselage skins exhibited cracks that required belly bands to attenuate the effect. J-57's with ADI produce a painful shriek at 100%.
     
  24. tazandjan

    tazandjan Two Time F1 World Champ
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    The B-52H started out with a crew of 6 including 2 navs, 1 EWO, and 1 gunner (plus 2 pilots). Believe they are down to 4 now. Avionics gear is updated to include INS/GPS and there is a LANTIRN or Lightening pod for nav/targeting.
     
  25. Jaguar36

    Jaguar36 Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2010
    255
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Yep, All-new Chinooks are still being produced, alongside old ones being re-manufactured.
     

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