Friday, October 23, 2009

Buff Chute

The venerable Boeing B-52 Stratofortress made its first flight in 1952. The last of the 744 production airplanes rolled off the assembly line in 1962. This is an old airplane. Even so, it's still an effective combat aircraft, although I wouldn't want to go penetrating any heavily defended airspace in it. That's the B-2's job these days.

I always thought the drag chute on these bombers was cool. It added a touch of color to the otherwise camouflaged Buff. The NASA NB-52 had a white chute, thought, so they must be color coordinated to some degree. Regardless, it was fun to get this H model at Edwards last week with its chute out during its landing roll on Saturday.

Some folks are probably wondering why I used the word Buff in the title of this post. Buff, or more accurately "BUFF," is an acronym for the B-52 that was bestowed on it by the crews and maintainers. It stands for "Big Ugly Fat F...," well, in polite society lets just say the second F is short for "Fellow." We all know what is really meant. Yes, it is a term of endearment. Crew loyalty to this airplane is legendary. There is even an apocryphal story that says airplanes are handed down from father to son to grandson. I suppose it is possible, but probably not the same serial numbered aircraft - at least not to grandsons.

But you never know. It is an old airplane; one scheduled to serve perhaps another 20 years or so. Maybe great-grandsons will fly in it?

No comments:

Post a Comment