View Full Version : Battle Stations

7th Feb 2003, 12:58
Anyone else catch last night's programme on the B-52? Some cracking footage, although they didn't mention the B-47 except in passing, and the impression given was that the BUFF was all-new from the designers at Boeing - surely it was a natural development from the Stratojet???

However, all this aside, I was hoping to hear a favourite quote about the B-52, which I have been unable to find to reproduce verbatim, but goes along the following lines....

The B-52 had the power of *** diesel locomotives, was built using enough metal to manufacture ****** tin cans, and contains **** miles of electrical wiring.

(Can't remember the exact numbers)

One USAF senior officer then made the remark that the BUFF, on takeoff, made a noise akin to *** diesel locomotives pulling ****** tin cans along on the end of **** miles of electrical wiring!!!

What a stunning beast, and looking now to remain in service until 2045 - perhaps they should have gone ahead with the big fan re-engine after all!

Iron City
7th Feb 2003, 13:24
Haven't studied it but do not believe the B-52 was a "development" of the B-47 at all. General configuration similar, but then again so is the B-707, B-17 and B247 from the same (sort of ) manufacturer.

Lu Zuckerman
7th Feb 2003, 13:56
Did any of you ever see the footage of the B-52 that had just landed and the crew was walking away from the airplane and towards the camera. All were smiling and talking to each other. However in the background the left wing separated from the wing box and fell off. The smiles went away fast and the topic of conversation quickly changed.


Shaggy Sheep Driver
7th Feb 2003, 14:04
One thing not mentioned was the unusual undercarriage. The aeroplane has 4 2-wheel 'bogies', 2 near the front and 2 near the back, with small 'outriggers' on the wings to stop it tipping sideways. So it can't 'rotate' to take off, or 'hold off' to land in the conventional sense.

Presumably it takes off and lands in a flat attitude. That cross-wind landing undercarriage steering facility is presumably neccessary because of this.

I wonder why they did it like that?


7th Feb 2003, 23:35
So it can't 'rotate' to take off, or 'hold off' to land in the conventional sense.

Aha! That explains something. I have seen a couple of these at airshows and they seem to climb out with a slightly nose down:confused: attitude. Makes sense, since they cannot rotate:D

John Farley
9th Feb 2003, 14:53
Bicycle undercarriages (B-47, B52, Hustler, Vautour, Harrier etc) are creations of the Devil (so far as take off and landing handling goes) but still the better way to go in some circumstances. With all except the Harrier I have little doubt the decision was taken to avoid a very long pair of main tricycle legs, with attendant problems in retracting them into thin wings plus the need to free up the fuselage around the CG for bomb bay use, rather than as a home for two narrow track tricycle legs. With the Harrier, it was a bit of the long leg thing as above, plus the space needed around the CG for the donk and keeping the splayed hot rear efflux from blowing directly on a pair of tricycle legs well their tyres anyhow.

Dr Illitout
9th Feb 2003, 18:39
Dear John
I think the Hustler was a tri-cycle U/C A/C .

9th Feb 2003, 21:20

John Farley
9th Feb 2003, 21:53

Well there you go.

So I was right to give up aviating.

Thanks chaps. Nobody's perfect!



9th Feb 2003, 22:39
Have a very vague memory that the B52 wing was the first from Boeing to be stress designed with the use of a computer, whereas the B47 was the last to be done "manually".

Perhaps this may be the reason that the B52 is not considered a natural descendant of the B47.

I do know that the B47 had a tendancy to lose wings when stressed.

10th Feb 2003, 07:15
Ah yes, the airshow take offs by the Buffs (observed from the front, you understand, as from behind they tended to be obscured by their personal smoke screen); as suggested, the lift off tended to be a feat of levitation aided by a considerable area of flap. Once safely airborne the aircraft continued to levitate and, on more than one occasion, I saw the pilots stuff the nose down a few degrees and continue down the runway at a decidedly nose low attitude. This, I believe, to allow the aircraft to accelerate! Sadly I've long since given up queueing to get in at the bigger airshows where one might see such a spectacle...

Missed the programme, (in the pub again!) hoping that a mate has done the gentlemanly thing and recorded it for posterity and his friends' further entertainment!

tony draper
10th Feb 2003, 07:19
I watched a amazing clip of a B52 landing with the body of the aircraft at a seemingly angle of 45 degrees to the direction of travel, did anyother aircraft feature the this undercariage steering ability?.

Kermit 180
10th Feb 2003, 08:46
Tony, I believe the Boeing 747 has such a system. Some airlines seem to try it out more than others.


Cornish Jack
10th Feb 2003, 10:12
Kermit 180
No - not the same at all! The 47 body gear IS steerable but ONLY for low speed taxying. The steering function is automatically disabled above 20 kts on the -400 and is manually switched on the 1/200s. The 52 gear is able to be preset to a particular 'crab' angle prior to touchdown to allow for crosswind landings.

The lack of rotation requirement on the 52 takeoff becomes pretty obvious when you look at the wing root attachment angle -the incidence angle. The only other aircraft I can recall with that sort of incidence was the Whitley and that used to fly markedly nose-down in the cruise.

Iron City
10th Feb 2003, 15:21
Well then the Buff is a develoment of the Whitley.

10th Feb 2003, 16:07
On the 747, I believe the main landing gear wheels can be turned in the opposite direction to the nose wheels, to reduce the radius of turn and tyre scrub when taxying. Can anyone confirm this, and does it apply to all marks of 747?

10th Feb 2003, 17:05
I think the Lockheed Galaxy C 5A had a complex crosswind main landing gear. Four wheels on the nose and twenty eight on the main fuselage. When the C-5B version came out in Jan. 85 I think the system had been dropped.

Mr G.

10th Feb 2003, 18:50
On the 747, I believe the main landing gear wheels can be turned in the opposite direction to the nose wheels, to reduce the radius of turn and tyre scrub when taxying. Can anyone confirm this, and does it apply to all marks of 747?

Correct. But it's only the Body Gear that is steerable (the two rearmost trunks). The Wing gear (the outboard ones that are set a bit more forward) is fixed (steering wise that is...).

Ground engineer I once met told me that on a certain airfield in South America the aircraft had to make a 180 at the end of the runway to backtrack to the terminal but the concrete circle would only accomodate this with a ground engineer at the body gear pulling on the steering cables to get the wheels turned as far as they would really go!

19th Feb 2003, 00:43
Plovett, your mention of the B47 wing problem lead me to recall something I read somewhere recently about the techniques used for the loft bombing of nuclear ordnance in the B47. The very thought of it is horrifying. Imagine pulling up hard with those thin wings flapping:yuk: Apparently there was stern advice for the pilots as to the possibility of overstressing. I'll bet!

19th Feb 2003, 01:48

I didn't realise that they used the loft technique with the B47. I thought that it was only used by smaller aircraft.

There is a very good description of the technique in one of Richard Bach's books - the one about the flight of the F84 (?) from England to France that goes through the thunderstorm.

Grief! The thought of a B47 loft bombing!:eek:

19th Feb 2003, 04:22
Yes that was 'Stranger to the Ground'. Funnily enough, I only just re-read it again there the other week. He was not exactly enamoured at the idea of doing it in an F84F, which is what it was.

Speaking of Richard Bach. I liked his books. But the last one I read, 'Bridge to Forever' I think went off the scale in weirdness. It seems he flies from his bed at night these day in spirit. Cheap flying anyway.

I'm trying to recall where I read about the B47. I'll dig up today when I go home. The idea left a big impression in my mind. I can't imagine what it did to the crew!

Update: It was in Flight Journal magazine reviewing a video on the B47. Take a gross weight B47 130,000 pounds, dive to 6000 feet, entry speed 460 knots, pitch into an Immelmann or half a cuban eight. Hold it in the buffet. But do not exceed 3G!!!!!
Yes easy really,not a problem :eek: