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.
 
Last edited:

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.
 
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