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The restoration of the atomic trials B-52 Stratofortness bomber

by Till Daisd
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B 52B Restoration

The B-52B of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is the only BUFF that has ever dropped an atomic bomb

The Boeing B-52B Stratofortress serial number 52-0013, which was restored by the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been finished.

Through Indiegogo, a platform for funding creative projects that is directly backed by donors, the ambitious crowdfunding effort to repair the historic Cold War-era bomber was successfully started in April 2016 and has since secured the funds required to finish the restoration.

A long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber, the B-52 Stratofortress. The Boeing-built Stratofortress, which went into service in 1955, remained the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) primary long-range heavy bomber during the Cold War, and it is still a significant component of the USAF bomber force today.

Before production came to an end in the fall of 1962, over 750 were constructed. The B-52, often known as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker) by its aircrews, has broken numerous records during its long career. Three B-52Bs accomplished the first non-stop jet aircraft round-the-world voyage on January 18, 1957. The flight took 45 hours and 19 minutes, and only three aerial refuelings were necessary.

“Our B-52 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is truly Albuquerque’s airplane,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “This airplane was delivered directly from Boeing to Kirtland in 1955, and it was never assigned to another Air Force base in all its existence.”

Only four B-models are available for public viewing, including this one. Additionally, during Operation Redwing in 1956 and Operation Dominic in 1962, the Museum’s B-52B Stratofortress, which is currently the largest item on display, was employed for atomic testing in the Pacific. The atomic bomb it dropped during testing is still the sole B-52 in existence. Albuquerque’s B-52B was taken off the list when the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963 and was eventually delivered to the Museum, originally known as the National Atomic Museum, in 1971.

Major Jerry Hanks, Project Manager and Heritage Park Restoration Coordinator (who also oversaw the productive restorations of the Museum’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and B-29 Superfortress in 2015), with assistance from Museum staff, volunteers, supporters, and organizations with personal ties to the Museum and the historic aircraft, started work on the B-52B Stratofortress in April. The B-52B received bodywork as well as a fresh coat of primer and paint during restoration.

Noteworthy The B-52 repair is a part of “Operation Preservation,” a multi-year effort to repaint and renovate the historic aircraft in Heritage Park, a nine-acre outdoor exhibit section of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. On nuclearmuseum.org, you can donate to future Operation Preservation projects.

Thanks to Jennifer Hayden, National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Director of PR & Marketing

Photo by National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

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