B-52 Stratofortress Makes Ground Debut At AirVenture

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A B-52H bomber made its first landing ever at Oshkosh this weekend, squeezing onto Wittman Field’s longest runway and using a parachute for its landing rollout. According to the Oshkosh Northwestern, crews had to remove 6000 feet of runway lights to accommodate the Stratofortress, which has a second set of outboard landing gear 148 feet wide. “We’re landing it on their largest runway, about 8,000 feet by 150 feet. It’s a tight squeeze for us,” Maj. Jeremy Holt of the 93rd Bomb Squadron told the newspaper. “We usually land on (runways) 10,000 feet long and 300 feet wide so it’s half the width.”

The 1961 model, which came from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, will be on ground display throughout the week. It’s powered by eight turbofan engines that deliver 17,000 pounds of thrust and can fly at speeds up to Mach 0.84, and carries a payload of 35 tons. It can travel more than 8,800 miles with a crew of five, and with aerial refueling it has flown as far as 16,000 miles nonstop. The B-52H models were the last ones built, at Boeing’s facilities in Wichita, Kansas, between 1958 and 1962. The B-52s have been in military service for 60 years and they continue to be updated. More than 65 are still in military service and are expected to remain actively flying for at least another 25 years.

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