After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet – The New York Times

A B-52 bomber in October at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, where about half of the Air Force's bombers are based. Credit Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

A B-52 bomber in October at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, where about half of the Air Force’s bombers are based. Credit Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

OVER THE GREAT PLAINS — Glance down from the ageless expanse of blue sky into the cockpit of the Air Force’s largest bomber, and the panorama is decidedly more dated — banks of steam gauges quiver above aluminum levers built during the Eisenhower administration, obsolete knobs and dials unused in decades gather dust.From Our AdvertisersAnd much of the rest of the mammoth B-52 bomber is just as antiquated. Vacuum tubes have been replaced with microchips, and the once-standard ashtrays are gone. But eight engines along the wings still connect to the cockpit by yards of cables and pulleys, and the navigator often charts a course with a slide rule.

Source: After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet – The New York Times

Editor’s Note: In the 1960s, I used to guard these huge B-52s at Blytheville Air Force Base in Arkansas. I walked around them days and nights, 8 hour shifts, with an M-16 on my shoulder, and my job was Security Police — to stop anyone from coming near the bomber, which was loaded with nuclear weapons. They were always fueled and ready to launch at a moments’ notice, and I can still recall the thundering sound of their jet engines as they took off…

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