Losses and Aviation Safety

Watch this video of a B-52H Stratofortress destroying the landing lights at RAF Fairford whilst performing a crab walk demo during RIAT 2023

B-52H destroying landing lights

Filmed during Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2023 by our friend Ben Ramsay at UK Aviation Movies YouTube channel, the interesting video in this post shows a B-52H crew performing a crab walk demo almost the full length of RAF Fairford‘s 10,000-foot runway. During this demo the port-side wing outrigger wheel took out the landing lights as the crew waved to the adoring crowds.

Ramsay explained to The Aviation Geek Club;

‘The B-52 (61-0029) from the 93rd BS at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, operating under the callsign SURGE22 departed runway 27 at RAF Fairford at 14:20 on Sunday 16th July and spent around 2 hours in the hold to the north of the airfield before performing a single flypast at 16:35. As I understand it, the flypast was meant to be a refuelling demo with a KC-135R from the 100th ARW at RAF Mildenhall. The weather prevented them from being able to perform a formation flypast so they came through as single ships.

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

‘The 52 went back in to the hold and recovered about an hour later and performed the crab walk demo which took out the lights. The weather had been atrocious for most of weekend, but had improved by this point. The jet arrived under the same callsign on Wednesday 12th July at around 4pm. Certainly one of the highlights of the show after the B-52 had to cancel its appearance last year.

The B-52 crosswind landing gear system

‘Between 18 and 21 lights were taken out by the port side wing. I’m pretty sure people didn’t notice at the time. It was only when I got home and reviewed my footage that I saw the wrecking ball of the port-side outrigger.’

The B-52 has a crosswind landing gear system that aids the crew during windy conditions, as the impressive footage on this post shows.

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.”

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

As we recently explained the mighty BUFF 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.

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.

Since the fuselage is so narrow, the “track” of the main landing gear is also fairly narrow, which means it isn’t very stable; 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.

Photo credit: Ben Ramsay

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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