Losses and Aviation Safety

This video of a B-52 taking off in heavy crosswinds shows why it wouldn’t take much to tip over a BUFF if it didn’t have outrigger wheels

The B-52

The B-52H Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions. The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters). It can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance with worldwide precision navigation capability.

All B-52s can be equipped with two electro-optical viewing sensors, a forward-looking infrared and advanced targeting pods to augment targeting, battle assessment and flight safety, further improving its combat ability. Pilots wear night vision goggles, or NVGs, to enhance their vision during night operations.

B-52s are equipped with advanced targeting pods. The advanced targeting and image processing technology significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the B-52 during day, night and less than ideal weather conditions when attacking ground targets with a variety of standoff weapons (e.g., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-52H Stratofortress 2nd BW, 20th BS, LA/60-0008 “Lucky Lady IV”. Barksdale AFB, LA

B-52 taking off in heavy crosswinds

The use of aerial refueling gives the B-52 a range limited only by aircrew endurance. It has an unrefueled combat range in excess of 8,800 miles (14,080 kilometers).

The B-52 has a crosswind landing gear system that aids the crew during windy conditions, as the impressive footage on this post shows. Filmed on Apr. 5, 2019 the video shows 3 B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers fighting heavy crosswinds to take off from RAF Fairford.

According to a BUFF driver “you can’t slip the airplane very much because you’ll start to drag the wing, which is disastrous. So, they installed a cross-wind landing gear system that allowed the plane to be cranked up to 20 degrees off center.”

The mighty BUFF also features the so-called outrigger wheels, or just outriggers. Most aircraft that have a narrow main landing gear use them, including the AV-8 Harrier.

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

B-52 taking off in heavy crosswinds would tip over if it didn’t have outrigger wheels

If you’ll notice, the B-52 has a fairly narrow fuselage, and the high-set wing is pretty far off the ground, so the only place they could put the main landing gear was inside the fuselage.

However, since the fuselage is so narrow, the “track” of the main landing gear is also fairly narrow, which means it isn’t very stable; according to an interesting post appeared on Quora, it wouldn’t take much to tip over a B-52 if it didn’t have those outriggers!

The landing gear of the B-52 is of the same bicycle arrangement as employed on the B-47 but has four two-wheel bogies instead of the two bogies used on the earlier aircraft. As compared with their location on the B-47, the outrigger wheels are positioned much nearer the wingtip on the B-52.

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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