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August 28, 2022

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How many engines can a B52 lose and still fly?

Stu--I do not know the answer, nor could I find much help in searching online. Unlike some politicians (who shall go unnamed because I discourage political discussions on this blog) I don't delve into classified information recreationally. The unclassified specifications of the Boeing B-52H may be found in a Boeing posting. Not much help.

One notes that the B-52 is not a small aircraft. My own wild guess is that under favorable circumstances and distribution of operational engines, the B-52 should operate on four engines. I asked Hunky Husband about it. (HH, while a young avionics engineer with Boeing Military Aircraft Co in Wichita KS, sometimes flew as navigator on test flights of the B-52. On the basis of HH's intimate knowledge of systems he was rated to act as co-pilot on the B-52 in the event that an emergency takeoff was required.)

HH's WAG was that a B-52 can take off and operate with two engines - with "zero" fuel. I'm not sure that I can buy HH's WAG because, even without fuel and payload the BUFF would be at about 200,000 pounds with engines that each produce 17,000 pounds thrust. You want to guess at coefficient of friction to unstick and roll that sucker? Since the wing tip protection gear would clear the ground with "zero" fuel, all weight would be on the four mains (2 tires each main).

Interesting stuff. My aunt was a Commander in the Navy Reserve and lived not too far from Castle AFB. When we were visiting once as a kid she was able to show her ID and her and my father were able to sweet talk the guard at the gate into letting us drive out very close to the flight line where B-52s were doing touch and go landings. I remember talking about the gear on the wing tips and just being in awe of the size and power of the planes.

Ingineer--Your remembering what you saw that day gives testament to how impressed you were. Your aunt did well! BTW: Thanks for correcting my memory. I would have sworn that B-52s were not allowed to do touch and go landings. Several videos on YouTube confirm your memory by showing such operations. (So much for my memory!)

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