Monday, August 3, 2009

Smoke and Thunder - B-52H Stratofortress

There is nothing quite like take-off of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. This 1950's designed, eight-engined bomber has survived far longer than imaged, outliving three attempts to replace it. While better than they used to be, the smoke coming from those eight engines as they spool to a full power, maximum take-off is impressive. Just the thought of a wing launching all their planes during Minimum Interval Take-Offs (MITO) exercises during the Cold War, in which one after the other of these behemoths take off 12 seconds apart, is mind-boggling. It must've been something to see and hear in person - assuming you could see much after the first two or three aircraft rolled as the smoke must've obscured everything. I don't think I'd like to be the last ship in line. Between the zero visibility and turbulence from everyone else's aircraft, the pucker factor must've been high.

This shot was taken at the 2005 Edwards AFB open house.

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