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BUFF walkaround of a B-52D Stratofortress 2nd half

3 August 2016

28° 26″ 58″ N / 81° 18′ 46″ W

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B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park in its Vietnam War camouflage as seen from the parking area—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The first half published on Monday and has a description of the memorial park. Enjoy this second part with its greater attention to the BUFF’s details. This BUFF is the “D” model with the inboard wing pylon stations for carrying additional bombs. This aircraft served in the Vietnam War and likely was a participant in the historical Arc Light and Linebacker missions.

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B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park seen from below—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Tail gun position of 4 x 0.50″ machine guns of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Only a few of the antenna fins and air vents, these along the mid left fuselage, of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The immense cruciform tail of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Empennage of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The tail gunner’s office, radome and gun locations (bail out entailed pulling a lever which would have the machine gun assembly fall away and the gunner would manually follow, á lá WW II heavy bombers) of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park as seen from the viewing platform—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park as seen from the viewing platform—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The four main gear trucks looking rearward of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park (the trucks could be canted in crossing landing conditions giving pilots the luxury of not crabbing the aircraft during these types of landing approaches)—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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Left outboard engine pod and wing tank, as well as signature outrigger gear, of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

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The left inboard engine pod of the B-52D at the Orlando B-52 Memorial Park—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

My thanks to Allan Schappert, former B-52 pilot, for his insight and technical knowledge—all of which have greatly helped on all the posts involving the B-52 in this blog.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allan Schappert permalink
    3 August 2016 11:44

    Nice, Joe. A few tidbits of trivia come to mind. . .

    The tip tanks hold a little more than 19,500 pounds of fuel each and can be jettisoned. The primary reason for the tip tanks are to reduce wing flutter and are much smaller on the G and H models which have stiffer wings.

    The F model, which is very similar to the D, was the last B-52 model to have the gunner physically in the tail. The 50 cal. guns were lethal to anything in the cone of fire, and could be fired visually if the FCS (fire control system) was inop. The aft compartment was the only crew station without an ejection seat. To bailout, the gunner had to manually jettison the tail and physically step out (difficult if not impossible in uncontrolled bailout situations due to G-forces as well as the typical nose down descent). In the G and H models the gunner sat forward next to the EW both facing rearward. The G model had a TV camera (useless). I never met a gunner that liked sitting forward primarily because they couldn’t look out, the ejection seat doesn’t fold flat, the copilot now controls the crew compartment temperature, and you’re now the primary coffee heater upper. Today gunners have been removed from the crew force. I can tell you that our gunner saved our bacon a number of times over Hanoi and Haiphong calling out visual threats (SA-2 Guidlines).

    Most of the antennae are for ECM. The most deadly, however, was the TACAN antenna just forward of the hatch which had a special padded cover to prevent injuries. I think most crew dogs have had an encounter with its rather sharp edge at one time or another since you have to duck down to walk under the aircraft and don’t really notice the damn thing.

    The entrance hatch was also the navigator’s ejection seat hatch.

    Those slots on the rear fuselage were where chaff bundles would be ejected. Chaff was cut to specific lengths to disrupt specific frequencies, and the rope chaff was especially effective in shorting out power lines–an accidental and unintended consequence.

    Crosswind crab could be set 20 degrees right or left according to the landing crosswind component. It was necessary because the wingspan (185′) made it virtually impossible to slip it in on short final without damaging a tip gear and dragging a wingtip. With a full 20 degrees cranked in, the plane could take about a 40 knot crosswind component. I can tell you it’s very awkward on short final and in the “flare” (BUFs don’t flare per se) looking out a side window especially if looking crosscockpit.

    The quadracycle gear on the left side retracts forward and the gear on the right retracts aft. They also rotate during retraction/extension. It looks weird when the gear are in motion, but there isn’t enough room in the fuselage to do it any other way.

    The paint scheme is a holdover from WWII with the underside in nonreflective black to minimize being highlighted by searchlights. Never had a searchlight issue but can attest to its effectiveness having bumped in to tip tanks and other fuselage parts doing night preflights. The camo on top is very effective at least low level. The best way to spot a low level BUF from above is to look for a moving shadow on the ground.

    The vertical stabilizer does indeed fold down, I believe the hinge is on the left with one bolt securing it on the right. There was an issue in the late 60s when a contractor sold the AF non mil-spec’d bolts requiring an inspection of the entire fleet.

    Nice job. The B-52s are fading away losing another one on takeoff at Anderson (Guam) earlier in the year.

    Take care and thanks for the memories,

    Allan

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      4 August 2016 22:20

      Allan,

      This is all great info and none I’v seen mentioned before. This is how to really know the B-52. I’ll re-tool the posts over the weekend using your material. Absolutely fantastic to have this level of knowledge included with the images.

      Thanks again, Joe

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