The picture on this answer to "What is this plane seen in Mobile, Alabama?" shows a B-52D Stratofortress with a very irregular surface texture.

B-52D Stratofortress "Calamity Jane"

Were they like this when they were new, or is it just because this is an old aircraft that serves as a display piece? Would a surface like this cause issues with airworthiness?

  • $\begingroup$ What about the wings surface texture? Is it the same crumpled surface? If anyone has an answer, it would be nice if it takes boudary layer behaviour, and reynold's number in consideration. $\endgroup$
    – qq jkztd
    May 18 '17 at 13:13

I believe this is buckling of the fuselage, due to heavy compression loading. Buckling is the process of out-of-stress-plane movement which happens under compression. The below image shows it well.

enter image description here


More info on buckling here.

Here's another picture, possibly of the same (type of) aircraft, with the description saying:

It appears that the fuselage contains a very heavy cargo, the weight of which is reacted by significant overall shear loading at the axial station of the landing gear. The overall shear loading is absorbed by the skin of the fuselage, which has developed significant post-local-buckling diagonal tension between internal ribs and stringers.

This seems plausible to me, it could be that upon a rough landing, there was excessive compressional loading exerted by the landing gear, which caused the buckling.

I'm not an expert on airworthiness, but usually buckling indicates that a part is loaded more than it's supposed to be.

enter image description here


Other aircraft have it too, see this question with a further explanation about buckling.


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