Military Review

Landing Boeing B-52 with a torn keel

On the Internet you can find photos of the American strategic bomber Boeing B-52, which flies with heavily damaged tail. Also in the vast network you can find videos that reflect this aerial incident. It was an incident, not a catastrophe, because despite the damage that was so critical for such a heavy machine, thanks to the crew’s actions, the bomber was successfully landed at Blytheville airbase in Arkansaz. This история It ended well, and all its participants escaped with only fright, which was hardly easy.

It is worth noting that the Boeing B-52 is one of the most recognizable and most "long-playing" aircraft of our time. The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (Stratospheric Fortress) is a multifunctional American strategic bomber-bomber belonging to second-generation strategists. The aircraft was adopted by the US Air Force in 1955 year. Currently, B-52, along with the Russian strategic bomber Tu-95, are absolute champions in terms of flight range, as well as the duration of their military service. These aircraft are continuously in service for over half a century. The machine, which was created in 50-s of the last century under the requirements of the Cold War, is still relevant. The US Air Force plans to operate this aircraft at least until the 2040 of the year, and 11,9 is planning to spend billions of dollars to upgrade the cars.

It is unlikely that the designers of the Boeing Company, who created this famous strategic bomber, who for many years was the personification of the US military power and was considered a symbol of the power of this country (just like a century before it, the English battleships and the first dreadnoughts personified the power of the British Empire) believed that will stay in the service for so many years. The car, in fact, not only survived its creators, but also the threat that Washington saw in the image of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the pragmatic American designers of Boeing could not even bother with the image of the enemy, but simply work in an effort to get a new large order, and with maximum efficiency realized their technical task.

The aircraft of more than 200 tons created by them could fly with a maximum speed of up to 957 km / h (0,87М) and carry a huge bomb load — more than 22 tons in the armament compartment, the aircraft in the B-52H modification, which is currently in service, This figure exceeds 27 tons. All American B-52 are older than 50 years. In this case, by 2040, the age of the aircraft will reach 83 years, they will be used up to the full development of the airframe resource. Such an enviable longevity is explained by the successful design and to some extent explains the happy outcome of the event, which occurred during the test flight in 1964, and whose photos are walking around the net today. Many consider these photographs implausible, but they are real.

Famous flight

The B-52H-170-BW S / N 61-0023 aircraft is presented on a series of shots on the Internet, all of which were made after a strong turbulent flow literally cut off the vertical stabilizer. This model was specially equipped for the study of turbulence. It was decided to begin detailed studies of the influence of this phenomenon on the aircraft after several combat bombers had already been lost. In that famous flight, during which B-52 lost the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the first pilot Chuck Fisher flew the plane, the second pilot was Dick Kerry. The crew managed to save the aircraft by landing at the Blytheville airbase.

A detailed account of this flight incident was left by John A. Smith, a retired US Air Force colonel who died in Las Vegas on 2010. In 1964, he came to Boeing Aircraft in Wichita as an observer and made several flights with Chuck Fisher, who told him about the famous flight. The translation of the story was done by Boris Krotkov.

Chuck Fisher’s B-52 aircraft was fully equipped and equipped to conduct turbulence research, as well as the influence of side winds on the Oil Can Low Level route, which began in Texas and then went west to Nevada and the famous 51 Zone. The plane flew along the route at an altitude of approximately 1500 feet, the instruments showed the speed of 350 nodes (approximately 650 km / h), at this point the intercom navigator reported to Chuck that the side wind suddenly increased, reaching 70 nodes gradually. That is what led to the fact that the keel of the bomber was seriously damaged. According to Chuck, the wind was blowing on the left, and he instantly managed to feel that the rudder control was missing, as well as the ailerons, in addition, the hydraulic system refused. After about 15 seconds, the pilot thought about how to fly further.

Guided by either intuition or instincts, Chuck Fisher immediately used separate control of the load. Separate control is the use of an engine control knob to reduce or increase engine thrust on the right or left wing. That is, at the moment when the left wing of the aircraft was falling, Chuck gave full thrust to the engines on the left wing and reduced thrust to the engines on the right. At that moment, the rudder was simply absent, the ailerons were inactive, and the only controls that were under the pilot’s right hand were obedient to him were engine control knobs.

Landing Boeing B-52 with a torn keel

By the time the control was returned to the aircraft and managed to be put into horizontal flight, the altitude had already dropped to 300 feet. Adding traction forced the car to climb, and decrease - to lose. At the same time, a decrease in the thrust of the right-hand engines and an increase in the left caused a turn to the right; When the pilot's heartbeat calmed down so much that he was able to hear something else besides the sound of blood in his ears, he contacted the Boeing-Wichita base, where he served as test leader for the bombers, and reported on the situation in flight. In the final stages of the conversation, Chuck Fisher asked: "What will I get if I can return this chest to the whole earth?" The answer was: "Save your work."

All flight information that led to the loss of the vertical stabilizer and rudder was recorded on magnetic tapes. Chuck Fisher did not want them to be lost. Therefore, he ordered the navigator to collect all the boxes with the records on his lap and leave the car near the military base (Chuck himself never left intact or even damaged cars). The flight was quite long, in the end it was decided to land the plane at the Blytheville base in Arkansas. This place was not chosen by chance. It was best suited for landing a multi-ton bomber: flat terrain, excellent weather conditions, a large amount of empty, unsettled space, and there was everything that could be needed for rescue work.

Fisher lowered the flight altitude to 2000 feet, until his plane appeared on the ground-based radar base and began planning a very long landing approach. He edited the last edits at a distance somewhere in 50 miles from the base, after which he addressed the ground with another problem. Chuck tried to release the flaps and chassis, not knowing whether they are controlled. The chassis was released in normal mode, pneumatic systems worked, with which there were no problems, but with the flaps everything was far from simple. After trying to deflect the flaps and the subsequent exhausting struggle to maintain flight altitude, the pilot decided to plant the car without flaps, which automatically meant that at the moment the runway touched, the B-52 speed would be significantly higher than the recommended landing. However, this circumstance could not prevent the pilot to land the plane in Blytheville, showing, in the opinion of most eyewitnesses, an incredibly high level of flying skill.

Something similar after years 20 was able to repeat the captain who piloted the passenger airline DC-10 of United Airlines. He managed to perform almost successful landing in Sioux City (Iowa). Then the crew managed to make an emergency landing 45 minutes after the failure of the hydraulic system. 174 passenger survived from 285 and 10 crew members from 11. The fact that the car remained controlled, and some of the passengers were saved in such harsh conditions, was recognized as an example of the extraordinary skill of the aircraft crew.

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  1. qwert
    qwert 26 November 2014 07: 59
    Without a tail, they also sat down during the Patriotic War, and during the Afghan Su-25 sat down. The fact that the B-52 in this regard corresponds to most combat aircraft is not surprising. Moreover, having spaced engines it is easier for him to do without a keel
    1. svp67
      svp67 26 November 2014 10: 15
      Quote: qwert
      Moreover, having spaced engines it is easier for him to do without a keel
      Nevertheless, you must admit - the pilot is well done. Even if it’s our opponent, it’s still worth admitting it. So it will be easier for us, in which case to fight them.
      1. Andrey Skokovsky
        Andrey Skokovsky 26 November 2014 16: 14
        check out our, and the engines in the tail .....
    2. aleks 62
      aleks 62 26 November 2014 11: 44
      Moreover, having spaced engines it is easier for him to do without a keel

      ....... You can’t do without a keel ..... If you could, then everything flying would be done without a keel ..... A keel is a stabilizer of track stability .... Judging by the size of the B-52 (it’s quite large) .... You can’t completely do without it, you can make it smaller using an active steering system (used on modern large airplanes controlled by a computer) .... Based on this, this is a story from a series of the former not so long ago on a VO flight of an Israeli pilot in a fighter without one wing ... laughing . Any specialist in aerodynamics will confirm this to you ..... Yes, and even control on the 3 axis of the aircraft engines, also landing ..... So it's generally tin .... belay .For reference: aircraft turbines have a rather long pick-up time (this is not a piston engine with a car) from min. up to max. thrust, time is calculated in a few seconds (from 5 to 8-10 seconds) .... In aviation, in conditions of time pressure this is a lot ..... Therefore, all this is a very beautiful and courageous tale of the inimitable, unsurpassed Amerov pilots .... In the history of aviation, there are many cases of happy flight outcomes with a STRONGLY damaged wing, horizontal and vertical plumage, but DAMAGED, and not its absence .... hi
  2. ICT
    ICT 26 November 2014 08: 28
    Quote: qwert
    Moreover, having spaced engines it is easier for him to do without a keel

    here it’s more necessary to focus on the wingspan, but the main thing is that the stabilizers are intact

    Z.Y. more complicated indeed, that he understood, as I understood, the ailerons and other wing mechanization to be blocked
  3. netslave
    netslave 26 November 2014 09: 29
    Some kind of confusion with heights: according to the text, it turns out that the keel was damaged at an altitude of 1500 feet (500 m - only?); then, while the pilot was figuring out what to do, he descended to 300 feet (100 m); after which he was able to gain altitude, from which he then deliberately dropped to an altitude of 2000 feet. An analysis of Google search results suggests that the "author" simply reprinted the article surfing the web without bothering to verify the accuracy of the information it contains.
    Here you can see a more detailed description of the incident:
    In terms of heights, a more believable picture is obtained there: damaged the keel at 14300 ft and began to lose height; could level the plane to 5000 ft; again climbed 16000 ft.
    Something like this. Draw conclusions.
  4. Kazanok
    Kazanok 26 November 2014 10: 03
    cool guy !!!!
    1. Serg 122
      Serg 122 26 November 2014 11: 14
      cool guy !!!!

      Our people are no less cool !:
      09: 07 / 26.11.2014
      Passengers had to push the Tu-134, frozen to the landing in front of the runway. At minus 50 degrees, the landing gear froze tightly to the Igarka airfield in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.
      According to a source at Igarka Airport, a state of emergency with the liner happened the day before. Before take-off, the thermometer column dropped to -52 degrees, so the landing gear froze to the surface of the airfield, preventing the aircraft from going to the runway and accelerating.
      - The airline used chassis grease not intended for the Far North. Since the liner stood in the cold for more than a day, the supports froze to the site before takeoff, a source at the airport told LifeNews. - Then they warmed up the chassis, everything is fine. It was a charter flight for shift workers operated by KATEKavia.
      At the time of the incident, there were about 70 people on board. Flight passengers had to help the crew and technical personnel to move the plane.
      1. pinachet
        pinachet 26 November 2014 15: 15
        no ... when they won’t conquer us ...
        1. Alf
          Alf 27 November 2014 21: 11
          Quote: pinachet
          no ... when they won’t conquer us ...

          They will conquer, but then they will bitterly regret.
      2. Alf
        Alf 27 November 2014 21: 08
        Quote: Serg 122
        Our people are no less cool !:
        09: 07 / 26.11.2014
        Passengers had to push the Tu-134, frozen to the landing in front of the runway. Flight passengers had to help the crew and technical personnel to move the plane.
  5. propolsky
    propolsky 26 November 2014 13: 06
    Actually, the pilot had a hard time. Correctly noticed about track stability, said a person who knows the laws of aerodynamics. But in addition to this, the Boeing control system is designed in such a way that the rudder is primary in case of failures in the control system and engines, and the ailerons are secondary, i.e. Soviet pilots parried turns with ailerons and assisted rudder, and American pilots practically only rudder. Therefore, the pilot is not just a "passing" person, but a specialist in his field.
  6. Prager
    Prager 26 November 2014 13: 40
    Sergey, thanks for the funny article, gladly gave it a try.
  7. Alexey M
    Alexey M 26 November 2014 14: 47
    On YouTube, the video was like an SU-25 getting into a truck there really was skill.
  8. Ivan Tarasov
    Ivan Tarasov 26 November 2014 17: 15
    With a torn keel there is a chance to land a car, ailerons can be used.
    But if the elevator were torn off - zero chance.
  9. Hitrovan07
    Hitrovan07 26 November 2014 20: 09
    The pilot is a pro, it does not matter in "our system of values" or not.
  10. Stoler
    Stoler 26 November 2014 21: 06
    There is nothing "badly damaged" but it simply does not exist! Pilots are just class!
  11. Bersaglieri
    Bersaglieri 27 November 2014 00: 03
    There was also an episode with the Tu-95, in the early 80s. Google the material "Battle with a boa constrictor" (about how the hose, when refueling in the air, broke off from the 3MZ and wrapped around the 95th, taking off part of its plumage)
  12. Bayonet
    Bayonet 27 November 2014 13: 00
    I remembered the words of the song of American bombers–
    "The whole team is safe, and the car came -
    On parole and on one wing. ”
    1. Alf
      Alf 27 November 2014 21: 18
      Quote: Bayonet
      I remembered the words of the song of American bombers–
      "The whole team is safe, and the car came -
      On parole and on one wing. ”

      I think this song is not about the Americans, but about the British. The fact is that in the text there is a direct indication of that-
      Well, business, NIGHT was
      We left waddling in the DARKNESS.
      The Americans did not fly at night in WW2, but the Royal Air Force considered night the best time of day for the bombing. And the singer of this song is Anne Shelton, an Englishwoman.
  13. Bersaglieri
    Bersaglieri 27 November 2014 14: 14
    By the way, I found that episode:

    Aces kept the missile carrier in line. Now the hose is taut, but his car starts to lag behind, another moment, and the cone itself will overcome the resistance of the lock and jump off the bar. And then something happened, not foreseen by any instructions - the hose came off the tanker! The pilots saw how the "boa constrictor" instantly curled up into a shapeless ball, rushed at them, a terrible blow ... sheathing. With the first blows, he took down the antennas. Communication with the ground, the tanker and the wingman had ceased, and now no one could help the missile carriers even with advice. The only thing left to do was to rely on myself.