Engine Literally Falls Out Of A B-52 During Flight Training
One of the engines on a B-52 Stratofortress fell out during a flight training exercise over North Dakota Wednesday.
Although it lost an engine, the Boeing-manufactured aircraft, part of the Minot Air Force Base 5th Bomb Wing, operates using eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofan engines, so the five-man crew was able to land the plane safely, Defense News reported.
The engine broke apart and landed in an unpopulated area 25 nautical miles from the base, at which time the Air Force dispatched a helicopter to retrieve the debris.
There were no weapons on board the aircraft.
Col. Matthew Brooks, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, part of Air Force Global Strike Command’s Eighth Air Force, set up a safety panel to investigate the cause of the accident, Military.com introduced.
In a similar incident, the B-52 from Minot crashed on the flight line at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam in May, 2016. The crew was able to safely evacuate the aircraft.
The U.S. reportedly has 76 B-52 bombers currently in its inventory.
While the B-52 is one of the oldest aircraft in the Air Force, dating all the way back to 1952, it continues to play a vital role in several different ways. Recent uses of the B-52 includes symbolic fly-overs of the Korean Peninsula to warn Pyongyang, similar fly-overs of the South China Sea to warn Beijing against its territorial ambitions, and more recently, bombing Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the Middle East.
The iconic bomber is expected to be in operation until around 2040, at which point it will be replaced by Northrop Grumman’s B-21.
The B-52 can carry a weapons payload of about 70,000 pounds and fly nearly 9,000 miles without in-flight refueling.
“We want our partners and the enemy to see the airpower [the B-52] has overhead,” Col. Daniel Manning, the deputy director of the Combined Air Operations Center, told Military.com, “A B-52 encourages our partner force that we have their back.”
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