B52 average flight altitude

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TLAR

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Do any of you know what the average flight altitude of the B52 is
 

TFF

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There is at least one member here who flew them. I know they would release X-15s at 45K. I think the older low bypass engines flew higher than the stuff today.
 

Vigilant1

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All kinds of answers. They were built to overfly the USSR at 50k ft on the way to their targets. Then, radar SAMs were developed and they initially stayed high and used lots of ECM, Quail, and Hound Dog (later SRAM) to fight their way in. Then, spent a couple decades practicing to ingress at 500 agl, or less. Now, they are back up high for most recent wars and missions.

I think when they just need to cover distance (cross an ocean, etc) they typically go at about 35k ft. Someone with direct knowledge will pipe up, I'm sure.

The planes (and crews) are incredibly flexible, and that means they have needed to be at various altitudes.
 
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Mad MAC

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They probadly stay at 38,000 or below without a good reason, breathing O2 above that level starts to be an issue without resorting to space suits or special procedures.
 

Rockiedog2

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All kinds of answers. They were built to overfly the USSR at 50k ft on the way to their targets. Then, radar SAMs were developed and they initially stayed high and used lots of ECM, Quail, and Hound Dog (later SRAM) to fight their way in. Then, spent a couple decades practicing to ingress at 500 agl, or less. Now, they are back up high for most recent wars and missions.

I think when they just need to cover distance (cross an ocean, etc) they typically go at about 35k ft. Someone with direct knowledge will pipe up, I'm sure.

The planes (and crews) are incredibly flexible, and that means they have needed to be at various altitudes.
Guam-SEA 488k TOGW 35K cruise altitude .86 mach
Return after 6 hour fuel burnoff and 22K bombs released 41K cruise alt/.91 mach
B52G
 

BJC

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I don’t recall talking to Joe about it, but one of the biggest concerns of another Buff driver that I knew was a mid-air with another -52 on night missions when maneuvering to avoid a SAM.


BJC
 

TLAR

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The B52 is an awesome aircraft and sometimes operated at shockingly low altitude
 

Vigilant1

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We got a LOT of flexibility when he bought the BUFF. Nobody could have foreseen the ways it has, and is, being used. I think the public still associates the plane with its nuclear delivery and conventional "area bombing" role (84 x 500 lb bombs internally + 24 x 750 lb bombs externally on the "Big Belly" B-52Ds). But the planes and crews have done, and are doing, so much more.
 

Pops

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Only 43 missions
It was my turn in the barrel

I was an OV10 pilot 185 missions.
Got drafted by SAC
Not good
My neighbor worked downstairs on the B-52 missions in SAC. My old flight instructor went in the AF in 1954 and spent most of his time until retirement in SAC flying the 52's.
 

Aesquire

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Some years back when they still flew B-52s out of Rome NY, Griffiss AFB, I was flying at the Italy Valley hang glider site... More precisely, one day I was "wire launching" others, meaning you stand in front of them, holding the front flying wires to secure & steady the glider as they prepare to go. Once wings are level & AOA is as desired, the pilot calls "go", and the wire guy dives off to one side, clearing the launch for takeoff lunge/run ( 1-3 steps ).

So on this nice day, I'm holding on & visually checking glider/harness/carabiner, as the pilot gets hooked on and gets his act together. Almost ready to go, I hear an old familiar sound, from childhood in Omaha...

I yell at the pilot to unhook, as a BUFF comes down the valley, well below ridge level, and well below ME. Behind the bomber I can see the wash behind it, by the motion of the trees in a cone-of-doom as branches snap & foliage & dust sweep up the valley floor, up the slopes, at over 300 miles an hour. Too late. The pilot had hesitated too long, ( to be fair he had only seconds ) so I wrap my arms around the two front cables right at the nose and flatten myself and the nose to the ground. The turbulence hit and we were slammed up & down as I hung on and tried to hold grass, brush, rock... Anything to keep from being pulled off the mountain into the horizontal tornado full of debris that was trying to swallow us. When the chaos eased, we were still more or less intact, bruised & battered, and his control triangle a bit pretzelled, and half off the cliff, but not a leaf in a hurricane, so, win.

Luckily no one was airborne in the BUFFs path, and we Chose to not risk flying in case another flew by.
No NOTAMS,I checked, not marked on my map, and it never occurred to me to call & complain.

I've been closer to B-52s on takeoff at Offutt many times, but having one pass below me at speed while hanging on to 170 square feet of wing counts as my closest call to one.

Close enough to see the wrinkles in the fuselage skin clearly, before I began hugging the planet.

Awesome plane... I really doubt close air support was in the specification.
 

Vigilant1

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If I've got this right, aircraft below 10K MSL should be below 250 KIAS or on an MTR (or in a MOA, etc) (which should be shown on a sectional). So, maybe the BUFF was at >just< 288 MPH. But I know there are exceptions (some acft have a waiver to the 250KIAS limitation).

You got quite a show!
 
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