Wise Guy B-52 Escapes The Boneyard


Boeing’s mighty B-52 has yet to exhaust its cat-like nine lives. This week, the U.S. Air Force’s 307th Bomb Wing in at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana was delivered a B-52H that had previously been mothballed at Davis-Monthan AFB.

“Wise Guy,” parked in 2008, underwent a brief refurbishment of just over a month at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan. That project got the BUFF airworthy but it won’t enter a full refurbishment until the fall.

Col. Robert Burgess, 307th Operations Group commander, led the three-man crew bringing the B-52 back from Arizona. “We are excited about the wing’s role in bringing this jet back into service,” Burgess said. “Its return is a testament to the skill of our airmen in restoring the bomber for regular use in the Air Force.”

It’s also a testament to the B-52’s longevity and flexibility. The B-52 has a unique place in aviation history, which partly explains the desire to keep the 67-year-old design available in the age of UAVs. “Wise Guy” is the second B-52H pulled out of retirement. “Ghost Rider,” which was brought out of retirement in 2015, underwent a 19-month refurbishment before rejoining the fleet. When “Wise Guy” is fully operational, the USAF will have 76 B-52Hs at its disposal.

According to Air Force Technology, “The B-52H, with a weapons payload of more than 70,000 pounds, is capable of carrying the most diverse range of weapons of any combat aircraft.”