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This Is The Most Amazing Tour Of A B-52 Stratofortress We Have Ever Seen

Running nearly two hours in length, the video goes into so many tiny details about the aircraft, which exists today as a hodgepodge of early Cold War engineering and retrofitted modern technology. The tour is led by Lt. Col. Bob Bohl and his highly experienced crew, based out of Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, as well as a Crew Chief for the B-52 being examined, which carries the nickname “Politically Incorrect” embossed below mushroom cloud nose art. The B-52 community retains its nuclear mission, of course, albeit without nuclear gravity bombs—just nuclear-tipped cruise missiles are used these days. Also, just the idea of being a B-52 Crew Chief sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?

From discussions of a B-52H’s tire pressure and ‘six engine approaches’—apparently, it can go around on just two engines in some circumstances—to pointing out where the 20mm cannon shells once dropped out of the tail when the type still had a tail gun, this video is as fascinating as it is thorough. We even get a very intimate description of how the B-52’s now famous, but once-secretive, swiveling landing gear, which is critical to the type’s ability to accomplish crabbed crosswind landings, is set from the cockpit. 

Then there is the reality that B-52 Weapons Systems Officers crawl into the weapons bay in flight. Another little door at the other end of the bay is where the gunner would have to squeeze through to get to their lonely station in the tail. 

There are so many smaller things, too, like the safety bars installed on the ground in the bay so the doors don’t close on anyone standing it, which could presumably cut a person in half. Oh, and the dumb bomb racks that the B-52 uses internally are the same as the ones used in a WWII B-17! 

As for its TF33 engines, they hold 41 quarts of oil, and all eight suck 20,000lbs of fuel an hour at idle. That is nearly the entire fuel load of an F-15C with two drop tanks. Maybe my favorite part is when the Crew Chief smiles lovingly at one point as states, “you’re always hearing creeks and pops,” as he walks atop the aircraft’s wings.

Also of note, the inside of the tail of the jet looks more like what you would find in an engine room of an old ship than on a transonic bomber!

Above all else, this video highlights just how complex yet brilliantly engineered these aircraft, which could arguably be antiques at this point, truly are. 

Author’s note: A huge thanks to Erik Johnston for shooting this fabulous video and to @guyplopsky for the heads up that it existed!

Contact the author: [email protected]



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