Third on list of longest non-stop, non-commercial powered aircraft's flights is January 10–11, 1962 flight on Boeing B-52H Stratofortress made by major Clyde P. Evely and crew. Can anyone provide any details about this flight?

Wikipedia says, that it was a flight from Japan (Okinawa) to Spain, via Tokyo, Seattle, Fort Worth, Washington and Azores. I'm especially interested in knowing, why that way? Most (all) of today commercial flights are flying Europe to Japan / Far East the opposite way, that is through Asia.

Is there any source of information, why did that flight took the longer route? Was that specially made to break the world record or was there any other circumstances to take such decision?

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    $\begingroup$ Would that shorter route have been overflying the USSR and/or the PRC? In 1962, a B-52 doing that might have been poorly received... $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ relevant: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/14920 $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ The B52 was not going to go that far without mid-air refueling, that route ensured that there was mid-air refueling available, and plenty of friendly places to land in case of trouble. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 12:34
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    $\begingroup$ @NigelHarper It's also a little easier to get permission to fly a passenger airliner over another nation than it is to get permission to fly a B-52 over it... $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ @reirab Exactly. And if it was only just possible to get permission for commercial flights to overfly the USSR in 1991 it shows just how impossible it would've been to get the same for military craft 30 years previously. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2015 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


The B-52 Stratofortress is a military jet, and specifically a US military jet, which if flown over USSR was very much in risk of being harmed. Thus, it was an intelligent decision to follow a longer route, rather than being a victim of ongoing cold war, following the longer route could have also helped the crew in achieving the longest flight record. Secondly, the B-52 did not have a very good history even before 1962, thus taking precautions was a necessity for the crew, and they did this by choosing to fly over more helpful nations. Also, aviation was not developed very much in Asia back in 1962 with very few strips of a large distance, to be used in case of emergency.

For more information, you may refer this and this!

  • $\begingroup$ The B-52 is a military jet. It's still very much in service today. It's one of the longest-serving military aircraft in history, especially for a jet. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ Saying that the B-52 would have been at risk of being harmed if it overflew the USSR is something of an understatement. Doing that might have started World War III. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2015 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ Okay , then as @RalphJ says, it would at least have been poorly received. $\endgroup$
    – anshabhi
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 18:02

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