B52 average flight altitude

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Kiwi303

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UNDER you on the site as it went down the valley? Now that would be a SIGHT.

I've been on a hilltop as a C130 went down the valley below me, not quite the same as a B52!
 

TFF

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About ten years ago, A friend took a great picture over the top of a B-52. It was going into Barksdale and my friend was about 2000 ft over set up to do photography. Click click; perfect timing.
 

Pops

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When I used to live on part of grandfathers farm on the high ridge. C-130's would fly below my house. I have had them fly by directly overhead where I could see them waving at me.
Once in a while, we get a low pass with a C-130 at our grass field. The field is down in the valley so they have to drop over the hills on each end.
 

Vigilant1

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The "big planes down low" phenomenon also extends into the night. Some crews train to fly at low altitudes while using night vision goggles. These NVGs have gotten much better over the last 40 years, in the early days objects showed up as barely distinct blobs.
Semi-related story:
In the early 80s, airlift units didn't have computers that could accurately plot the coverage of enemy radars at low altitudes. Part of the job of my office was to do this manually with a plastic template (it compensated for earth curvature) over a paper chart, using the contour lines on the chart to figure out where our planes would be within view of the radar. Pretty mind-numbing work, one azimuth at a time, maybe for scores of radars. One crew questioned if our depictions were accurate, so I modelled a (notional) enemy SAM radar at a (real) TACAN station along his training route and showed him where he'd be within line-of-sight of that "radar". I asked him to tune in that TACAN and listen for the ident/watch for the OFF flag to see if our modelling was close. He came back to us and was impressed. It was a big morale booster for folks in my shop who spent a lot of tedious hours making these depictions.
Today, obviously, it is all done by computer. The terrain data is much more accurate and it takes just seconds to do all the figuring.
 
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Richard Roller

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Olathe, Ks.
UNDER you on the site as it went down the valley? Now that would be a SIGHT.

I've been on a hilltop as a C130 went down the valley below me, not quite the same as a B52!
Back in 1975 I was getting my private pilots license in Ulysses Ks. Early one morning before work I was doing turns around a point in a Cessna 150, we did them at 800' agl. As I straightened out of one set 3 B-52's in trail passed UNDER me passing south to north. The image is still impressed in my brain.
 

flitzerpilot

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On the subject of big stuff and ultra low level, during the immediate run-up to the Falklands War, I was in our recently restored circa 1886 Welsh cottage, a brisk walk from the local mountainside airstrip (which is why we bought the place). On one occasion I saw a Vulcan at eye level from an upper window heading straight at me. He applied afterburner to clear the 1700' mountain which was about a mile behind the cottage and the sound was unbelievable, setting the tiles rattling as he passed just overhead. A Harrier followed a day or two later. even lower, Taking off from that strip in a Jodel 112, I've had a Jaguar pass underneath me at 200'.

Closest I came was in the Flitzer Z-1on a cloudy afternoon, climbing through about 2000' when my attention was drawn to my 2-o'clock, Nothing was visible but for some reason a nagging feeling held my view in that direction, eventually ignoring all other sectors. At the 'last moment' a voice in my head said, 'Look right NOW!' so I rolled on some bank to look over the top wing at a C-130 about 600' away coming fast, smoking out of the overcast. I was primed for action so went vertical, my last view being an Avro-Lycoming air intake and the No 1 engine's 17' dia. propeller filling my vision. The sky went dark briefly and I heard a 'whoosh' accompanied by the smell of burned kerosene. I had no time to be frightened and since then I always heed such premonitions or messages. It can't hurt to do so and it could result in permanent hurt or oblivion if ignored.
 

Rockiedog2

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That's true.
The "big planes down low" phenomenon also extends into the night. Some crews train to fly at low altitudes while using night vision goggles. These NVGs have gotten much better over the last 40 years, in the early days objects showed up as barely distinct blobs.
Semi-related story:
In the early 80s, airlift units didn't have computers that could accurately plot the coverage of enemy radars at low altitudes. Part of the job of my office was to do this manually with a plastic template (it compensated for earth curvature) over a paper chart, using the contour lines on the chart to figure out where our planes would be within view of the radar. Pretty mind-numbing work, one azimuth at a time, maybe for scores of radars. One crew questioned if our depictions were accurate, so I modelled a (notional) enemy SAM radar at a (real) TACAN station along his training route and showed him where he'd be within line-of-sight of that "radar". I asked him to tune in that TACAN and listen for the ident/watch for the OFF flag to see if our modelling was close. He came back to us and was impressed. It was a big morale booster for folks in my shop who spent a lot of tedious hours making these depictions.
Today, obviously, it is all done by computer. The terrain data is much more accurate and it takes just seconds to do all the figuring.
Vigilant1 knows
 

Rockiedog2

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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!
I only flew 2 OB(oil burner) training missions but best I remember the 250kt was waived. Seems like 300 kt.
The OB designation came from the thing smoked like hell. Later it was changed to something more politically correct.
The low levels were nuclear profiles... they did a quick and dirty on that and then the conventional (B17) type mission training and right back to SEA
.
 

Vigilant1

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I only flew 2 OB(oil burner) training missions but best I remember the 250kt was waived. Seems like 300 kt.
....
The low levels were nuclear profiles... they did a quick and dirty on that and then the conventional (B17) type mission training and right back to SEA
I think later on the low level training got a lot of attention. They were impressive at RED FLAG. It took a lot of life out of the airframes, I'm amazed their retirement date keeps being pushed back. Boeing (over?) built them well and the depot mx folks must be working hard.

The OB designation came from the thing smoked like hell. Later it was changed to something more politically correct.
Oil burner indeed! I can only imagine the visibility and air quality for the last B-52 crew in a long line of minimum interval takeoffs.
" Regulator-- Select 100% Oxygen "

Thanks, Joe.
 

challenger_II

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Shockingly low? :) Summer of '79, we were spraying mesquite up north of Turkey, Tx. We were down in the river bottoms, and the bird had to pull up over a 30-40ft bluff on the north end of the pass. On one pass, the pilot pulled up, and a Buff went UNDER him!

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

Pops

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Son tells me that at Red Flag the C-130 wing tip vortices would pick up dust and beer cans on the desert floor in a turn.

Landed on the ice pack way up north delivering new radar equipment. C-130 gun ship in Somalia.
 
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Vigilant1

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Son tells me that at Red Flag the C-130 wing tip vortices would pick up dust and beer cans on the desert floor in a turn.
It is, of course, primarily an exercise for the fast movers, but the folks running the show when I was there did a great job of integrating airlift, bombers, etc into the action.
One time the C-130s coordinated to set up a forward area armament and refueling point (FAARP) on a dry lakebed near the "front lines." The C-130s landed, then a flight of A-10s landed and refueled from fuel bladders the C-130s had brought and they re-armed with ordnance (and loaders, and personnel) brought on the C-130s. Sounds simple, but involved a lot of gear and well trained folks. Set up quickly, got the A-10s gassed and loaded, then everyone flew out leaving just tire tracks. All right there in the dirt. Friendly fighters kept the "red air" away.
Another time, one of the B-52 tailgunners "shot down" (notionally) an F-16 aggressor. Sure, the F-16 could have taken a long shot with a missile, but the B-52s have tricks, too. The Aggressor pilot came in for a gun pass, and the B-52 gunner got him. A rare thing, and the gunner was a hero. The Aggressor pilots were great--not just very good aviators, but willing to give a little so others get better training.
 
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flitzerpilot

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Hi Mark, Vigilant and Richard,

I did send the picture of the airmiss between the Flitzer Z-1 and the C-130, but for some reason it didn't appear in the posts as published, as far as I know. I was going post some other aeronautical illustrations following that for general interest, but perhaps this particular thread is not the right location.
 
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