Cold War Era

Cool videos show B-47 strategic bombers doing Immelmann Turns and Barrel Rolls

The two, cool videos in this post clearly show why B-47 crews loved this aircraft’s maneuverability and sweet handling for good reason.’

The two, cool videos in this post clearly show why B-47 crews loved this aircraft’s maneuverability and sweet handling for good reason.’

In 1954 the U.S. Air Force (USAF) conducted a series of maneuver tests that showcased the B-47’s outstanding agility. These tests were specifically designed to explore the B-47s ability to “toss bomb.” The aircraft would approach the target low and at high speed, pull up sharply, open bomb bay doors, use momentum to literally fling the bomb towards the target and then execute the rest of a half loop Immelmann turn so that they were flying back in the opposite direction at the top of the loop.

This maneuver allowed the bomber to drop nuclear and high explosive weapons at low altitudes without danger of blast damage or flying directly over heavily defended targets. Seeing the big, sleek B-47 execute this maneuver (and barrel rolls too!) is truly memorable.

Cameras located all over the aircraft give unique views during the test flights.

The Boeing B-47 Stratojet represented a milestone in aviation history and a revolution in aircraft design. In fact it incorporated many advanced features for the time, including swept wings, jet engines in underwing pods, fuselage mounted main landing gear and automated systems that reduced the standard crew size to three.

Between 1947 and 1957, Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed built over 2,000 Stratojets. At its peak use in 1958, the USAF operated 28 B-47 bomb wings and four RB-47 reconnaissance wings, totaling 1,357 B-47s and 175 RB-47s.

However this is not the first time that we saw such a large aicraft performing aerobatic maneuvers: on Jul. 17, 2018 at Farnborough Airshow Test pilot Wayne Roberts, flying the Lockheed LM-100J Super Hercules, showed the aircraft amazing flying qualities (the aircraft in fact also did a loop!). Click here to watch the video!

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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