This aircraft was manufactured at the Boeing Airplane Co at Wichita Kansas, and entered USAF inventory in December 1960.The aircraft began its preparation for its last flight on the 1st of September 1989 when it was chosen to come to this Museum. Some 18,000 manhours of voluntary work of the 43rd Maintenance Group from the Guam base went into the presentation.
The Guam project was called the “Glossie Aussie”. It was given a proud farewell from Guam early on March 27th. Most of the personnel on Guam and their families on the Anderson Airforce Base formed a guard of honour to farewell the aircraft.
Why use Darwin?
Darwin Airport allowed B-52 Bombers to take off at maximum take off weight either with full fuel tanks or full load. It is the most northerly airport that is RAAF owned and controlled in Australia and allows circumnavigation of the globe without flying over large areas of land.
Why no bomb-racks?
The aircraft was given as a gift to the people of Darwin. The .50 cal Browning machine guns in the back have also had the barrels removed as to indicate peace. The plaque inside the bomb bay states “rest in peace”.
The aircraft is capable of mid air refuelling. It uses 81,000 litres of fuel to takeoff and cruising altitude. Fuel load approx 100 tonnes.
The Aircraft’s statistics:-
- Wingspan 56 metres (185′)
- Fuselage height 6.2 metres (20′ 8″)
- Estimated weight now 67 tonnes (engines and avionics removed)
- Maximum speed 625 mph (1030 kph)
- Engines – 8 Pratt and Whitney J57s.
- Crew 6 – None sit rear of the bomb bay.
- Height 14.5 metres (40′ 8″)
- Length 52 metres (160′ 10″)
- Static weight 78 tonnes
- Maximum takeoff weight 217.7 tonnes
- Maximum Service Ceiling 52,000 ft
- Maximum range without mid air-refuelling 8000 miles. (13,200km)
- Longest continuous flight time for a B-52 – 32 hrs.
- The seventh and only passenger seat is situated behind the pilot’s seat in the aisle.
For more technical detail, see Wikipedia.
For a 40 second preview of the B-52 video showing in the cargo bay of the B52, click here.