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bentwaters81tfw

The dreaded 7 engine approach.

16 posts in this topic

By: Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta
Defense News

January 4, 2017

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — An engine dropped out of a B-52 bomber during a training flight on Wednesday, the Air Force has confirmed following questions from Defense News.

Because the B-52 runs on eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofan engines, pilots were able to land the aircraft safely without any injury to the five personnel on board. The Air Force has since dispatched a UH-1N Huey helicopter to recover engine debris, which was found located in an unpopulated area about 25 nautical miles northeast of Minot AFB, an Air Force spokesman said in a statement.

There were no weapons on board the B-52, which belongs to Minot’s 5th Bomb Wing and was conducting a training mission, he said.

The service was not able to provide the root cause of the mishap, but the spokesman said an initial safety investigation has been initiated.

The incident could also ignite debate about whether and how to re-engine the service’s B-52 inventory. The Boeing-manufactured bomber has been flying since 1952 and is expected to remain operating until around 2040, depending on when it is fully replaced by the Northrop Grumman’s B-21.

USAF Looking at B-52 Engine Options

In 2015, Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes, deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements, said the service was especially interested in a public-private partnership, which would keep it from having to funnel procurement dollars into a new engine program.

“The idea is in a public-private partnership, somebody funds the engine and then we pay them back over time out of the fuel savings, which are generated out of the new engines," he said then.

Pratt & Whitney has proposed an upgrade package for the TF33-P-3/103 engines that would make them less expensive to maintain.

Analysts have also floated the Pratt PW2000, known as the F117 when installed on military aircraft, as a potential substitute for the TF33. Engine manufacturers General Electric and Rolls-Royce could also offer their own replacements.

There are currently 76 B-52s in the Air Force’s inventory.

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I once worked for a now closed jet engine overhaul facility in Ireland. We got a contract to convert Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines to the TF33 military standard for the KC135s but also used on B52. 

Anyway as tech librarian I was flooded with USAF manuals some marked secret and confidential all related to the contract. Apparently no one realised Ireland is not in NATO. Anyway I locked the lot into a cupboard avoiding the temptation to sell it to the Soviets. But they probably had them anyway.

 

Anyway to get back to the point. It's hard to believe that the TF33 is still in service. Just how much longer can the B52 keep flying? How do they even get spares? It's like the Shackletons back in the eighties. From a bygone era

 

 

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1 hour ago, noelh said:

Just how much longer can the B52 keep flying?

 

 

Until around 2040, apparently. Which is a mind-bogglingly long time in service.

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3 hours ago, noelh said:

 

Anyway to get back to the point. It's hard to believe that the TF33 is still in service. Just how much longer can the B52 keep flying? How do they even get spares? It's like the Shackletons back in the eighties. From a bygone era

 

 

A lot of spares come from the aircraft stored at Davis-Monthan.

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I'm still pondering why they haven't followed the "Flight of the Old Dog" design approach and replace eight engines with four modern turbojets. 

The B-52 is the cheapest heavy US aircraft to operate and will remain in service as the "bomb truck" of choice for some time yet, and especially if the budget is tightened on new programme spending.

 

 

The 7-engine thing jogged a memory of humourous quotes from aviation sources:

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.” Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. “Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked, “The dreaded seven-engine approach.”

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The reason they can't put four modern engines on is if they lose one, the yaw effect is outside the airframe design. Same with 8 engines, if two go on one side, the asymmetric thrust can exceed rudder authority. 

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Hi hairystick

I remember an idea about replacing eight turbojets with four turbofans from some twenty years ago. I had been dropped as uneconomical. There is probably enough of spare parts/stored planes to keep slowly diminishing numbers of B-52 going for some time. I also remember hearing the anecdote you mentioned, only in my case it was a Phantom II coming in on one engine, which had been advised to wait his turn. Nevertheless, the pilot's comment had been exactly the same. Cheers

Jure

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3 hours ago, hairystick said:

The 7-engine thing jogged a memory of humourous quotes from aviation sources:

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.” Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. “Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked, “The dreaded seven-engine approach.”

 

Or the one from Vietnam - where an F4 Phantom formated on a B-52D and radioed "Hey big fella - can you do this?" - and proceded to do a complete barrel roll around the Buff.

 

The B-52 pilot replied "Hey little fella - can you do this" - and proceded sedately on his way.

 

After a couple of minutes the Phantom pilot asked "What did you do?" - to which the B-52 pilot replied "I shut down two engines!"

 

Ken

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1 hour ago, Flankerman said:

 

Or the one from Vietnam - where an F4 Phantom formated on a B-52D and radioed "Hey big fella - can you do this?" - and proceded to do a complete barrel roll around the Buff.

 

The B-52 pilot replied "Hey little fella - can you do this" - and proceded sedately on his way.

 

After a couple of minutes the Phantom pilot asked "What did you do?" - to which the B-52 pilot replied "I shut down two engines!"

 

Ken

 

I remember reading the same story. Made me laugh! Would still rather fly a Phantom though.

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A while ago I read that B52 crews were flying the same aircraft their Fathers flew. At this point it has to be Grandads. 

Edited by noelh
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On 2017-01-08 at 2:55 AM, Flankerman said:

 

Or the one from Vietnam - where an F4 Phantom formated on a B-52D and radioed "Hey big fella - can you do this?" - and proceded to do a complete barrel roll around the Buff.

 

The B-52 pilot replied "Hey little fella - can you do this" - and proceded sedately on his way.

 

After a couple of minutes the Phantom pilot asked "What did you do?" - to which the B-52 pilot replied "I shut down two engines!"

 

Ken

The extended version of the joke has the bomber pilot get up, stretch his legs, get a cup of coffee and go to the toilet. "Now top that, hotshot!"

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 11:16 PM, Jessica said:

The extended version of the joke has the bomber pilot get up, stretch his legs, get a cup of coffee and go to the toilet. "Now top that, hotshot!"

 

That's brilliant!

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Weren't Minot the bunch who misplaced a planeload of nukes for a while?  :hmmm:

 

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Weren't Minot the bunch who misplaced a planeload of nukes for a while?  :hmmm:

 

Not so much "misplaced" as "accidentally flew a couple of them over the continental US and then left them sitting out overnight unattended in Barksdale Louisiana".

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Talk of fitting RB211s to the B-52 first appeared in the late seventies/early eighties and I see from a quick Google that it was talked about again as recent as 3 years ago.

Is the current B-52 a bit like Tigger's broom I wonder?

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Sounds like it, Scimitar. One of my favorite scenes from OFAH, by the way. When John Sullivan died a few years ago, I genuinely expected at least a day of national mourning in UK to mark this sad event. Cheers

Jure

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