In an April 11, 2024 video an embedded CNN crew documents a 33 hour B-52 Stratofortress round trip flight between Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana "flying near Russia, China, North Korea, and back."

At one point Engine #5 had an issue and was shut down.

Near the end of the video after 05:00 there is an exchange on audio, shown in captions:

One gear not down?

Affirm. Right main gear is not down.

Go ahead and emergency extend it.

Question: How does one "emergency extend" the right main landing gear of a B-52 Stratofortress?

I'm probably remembering some old black-and-white WWII movie seen on Saturday morning TV when I was young, but I'm imagining the flight engineer going to the back of the plane, lifting up a floorboard and revealing a big hand crank and struggling to extend the landing gear manually. Finally a mechanical indicator in the cockpit pops up confirming successful extension and lock (or not, enhancing the drama of the movie?)

I have a hunch that modern B-52's have a more automated and powered procedure for emergency extension.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Many planes have/had an emergency landing gear extension mode that just releases the locks and lets gravity do the rest of the work. $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Apr 11 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


After running through the usual series of checks (cycling the circuit breakers, etc), one takes the Landing Gear Emergency switch for the gear in question to EXTEND.

Reference - B52 Pilot's Manual page 367 (pdf page number)

Note: This manual is for the C/D model B52s, but my vague memory from working on the G/H model simulators in the 80s is that it worked the same way there.

Here is a schematic of the landing gear system showing the switches and the backup hydraulic system connections actuated by them.

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Reference: The B-52 Stratofortress: A Case Study (partial document) (pdf page 10)

This document covers the H model aircraft so I'm more confident the answer applies now.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I see, it looks like it activates a backup/redundant hydraulic circuit - there's no manual cranking involved. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 11 at 4:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh If you want fun stuff under the floorboards, see the 737. For manual cranking a big handle, that's the A320. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Apr 11 at 4:45

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