10 things you probably didn't know about the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an aerial behemoth which has been a part of the US Air Force for decades. But do you know how old it really is? Or how long it will be around for? Or how many Toyota Camrys - in weight - it can carry in its bomb bay? No. Well read on.

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

1. Heavy Load. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress can carry up to 70,000 lbs (32,000 kgs) of bombs in its internal bomb bay. Or in other words it can carry the same weight as 22 Toyota Camrys.

2. Old age. The B-52 first flew in 1952. That's 61 years ago. It's not due for retirement until sometime in the 2040s. By that point it will be well into its 90s!

3. Killer. During the Vietnam War three B-52s were credited with shooting down North Vietnamese MIG-21 fighters. That makes the B-52 the largest aircraft to be credited with air-to-air kills.

Boeing B-52 cockpit

4. Human Cargo. The standard crew of the current B-52 consists of 5 people. An aircraft commander, a pilot, a radar navigator, a navigator and an electronic warfare officer. All the crew have ejection seats. The two crew members on the lower deck eject downwards while the rest of the crew eject upwards.

5. Nickname. Amongst air force personnel the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is nicknamed BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F*****).

Space Shuttle Discovery

6. Intelligent. The avionics computer used on the B-52 was the same IBM AP-101 computer used on the Space Shuttle.

7. Construction. More than 5,000 seperate companies were involved in the B-52's construction.

Conroy Virtus

8. Derivatives. An enormous dual-fuselage aircraft called the Conroy Virtus was proposed and seriously considered. The B-52-based Conroy Virtus would have acted as a carrier aircraft for the Space Shuttle.

9. Not fussy. The B-52 is was the first US military aircraft to fly using a mixed blend of fuels. Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthetic combined with regular JP-8 fuel.

Hotel Van Cleve

10. Last minute. The final design proposal for the B-52 was drawn up, and a scale model made, in just one weekend by five Boeing engineers at the Hotel Van Cleve in Dayton, Ohio.




andrew jeremy
a 1952 bomber plane that is going to retire in the 2040s??? That’s almost a century!!!

Now that's one badass plane. I remember shooting down a lot of those in Ace Combat on PlayStation..

Bob Bryant
A real work horse for the Air Force. I loaded nukes in the states and conventional bombs in Guam and Thailand for 18 months when Vietnam was in its heyday. 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. Constant loading = constant bombing. The 52 never skipped a beat.

Bill Mieswinkel
I worked on the B-47, the T-33- the F-100, F-104, the KC-135 and the B-58 Hustler ( which was the first super Sonic Bomber ) while I was in the Air Force; as a jet engine mechanic and O. J. T. Training Instructor.

The B-52 and the C-47 , ( a small, old cargo plane ) and the KC-135 (a long range refuel tanker ) were and still are work horses for the Air Force. The C-47 was suppose to be in the bone yard in 1949; but I road on one in 1962; and it was just fine. The C-47 can glide 30 miles with one engine out, on a still day.

The B-58 was wonderful aircraft, but it required so much engine maintenance, after a short flight, that it's life was short in the military. The J-79 engine on this AC was a ( gas hog ) and required a lot of maintenance.

Dwight Collins
I had a ball I was in from 68 -72 I was in SAC the whole time Minot, Utapao, Griffiss, and back to Utapao.The hours that, some D models were pigs,I don't knowwho was worse Castle, Caswell, or Westover.I\

larry cook
Actually the oldest B-52 was recently retired. It was also had the lowest time of any of the fleet. It was the mother ship 008, or BALLS EIGHT, used to drop many experimental test objects. Stationed at Edwards AFB, I remember that almost each lifting flight, we had to change several of its engines, as they were really strained lifting such to the flight altitude. But it was a real trip, to be working on an airplane, that was two years older than I was. But most of the fleet is nowhere near that age. Most were made in middle sixties. Still it has been in use for a long time. With many changes and updates, and of course a load of maintenance.

Gary Ackerly

KC-135 Boom operator here Retired . The B52 was the easiest to refuel , and it's flight crews were very accomidating with this huge aircraft, Nothing like laying down on a comfortable plastic mattress, and doing your job at 600 mph in reverse, but that's how it was done. I lived that job.