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View Diary: Flying the B-52 - Part 1 (216 comments)

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  •  One of my favorite ATC tales… (13+ / 0-)

    …and almost certainly apocryphal involves a single seat fighter calling the tower and requesting a priority approach for a relatively minor anomaly. The tower replies, "unable priority approach, we have a B-52 inbound with an engine out."

    The fighter pilot replies, "ah, the dreaded seven engine approach."

    I can't begin to count how many of these I worked between 1968 and 1997. When I started, we had three B-52 bases just outside our area (ZJX), MCO, WRB, and GSB. However, with an Oil Burner route (low and high altitude bomber training airspace) in our area, we got 'em from all over.

    When I got to ZAU, we had nearby GUS, SSM, SAW, OFF, OSC, FOE, and probably some others I can no longer remember (also, it's possible a couple of those bases may not have been B-52 bases—and some had both B-52s and KC-135s, so just saying SAC bases was sometimes misleading). We also had an Oil Burner route, but it didn't get used as heavily or in the same way as the one in ZJX.

    We also had at least two aerial refueling tracks which saw lots of B-52 traffic. I caught a ride on a '135 out of ORD once and got to watch the process up close (C5, though—no BUFF—A/C told me there's a pretty good bow wave they have to trim for from either of them, though).

    Between the BUFFs and Herky Perks (and F4s, for that matter), I never had trouble with pilots seeing them when I called traffic on them.

    Are you going to discuss castered takeoffs and landings in your next segment?

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