The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons. Check out some facts below!
1) The B-52’s first flight was April 15, 1952 – over 63 years ago.
3) There were huge leaps in aviation happening when the B-52 was being designed, and it went through 6 major redesigns during the 5 year design period. The YB-52 pictured below was the second-to-last major redesign.
10) In 1964, a B-52 configured as a testbed to investigate structural failures flew through severe turbulence, shearing off its vertical stabilizer. The aircraft was able to continue flying, and landed safely.
12) To comply with the SALT II Treaty requirements, cruise missile-capable aircraft had to be identifiable by spy satellites. To comply, the B-52 “G” models were modified with a curved wing root fairing.
14) In 1961, a B-52G broke up in midair over Goldsboro, NC. Two nuclear bombs on board were dropped in the process, but didn’t detonate. After the bombs were recovered, the Air Force found that five of the six stages of the arming sequence had been completed.
16) After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, 365 B-52s were destroyed under the START treaty. The aircraft were stripped of usable parts, chopped into 5 pieces with a 13,000 pound steel blade, and sold for scrap at 12 cents per pound.