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The B-52G/H uses 8 spoilerons (so it has 8 burning and 8 turning on its wing) and a shortened vertical stabilizer. Spoilerons seem to be very effective for this design, further reducing the need for a conventional rudder and ailerons to yaw and roll the aircraft.

The B-52A through B-52F had what have been described as "feeler ailerons". But their elimination meant that the aircraft no longer has pure roll control, making maneuvering up to a tanker a bit more cumbersome, as inputs from the spoilerons would swing the nose from side to side.

It did occur to me that the tanker, and its boom, would do most of the adjusting, but was the "D" easier to handle in these situations? A response from someone with actual experience would be greatly appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ You expect to find a B-52 driver here? In any case the yaw damper system would account for any pro-verse yaw from roll spoilers so I don't think that's an issue. As well, in formation flying in tight quarters, you use very small mounts of skid to maintain lateral station, not bank. $\endgroup$ – John K Nov 23 '19 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ The B-52G/H only has 14 spoiler panels, 7 on each wing. $\endgroup$ – OSUZorba Apr 10 at 1:14
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The earlier variants were indeed easier to handle. The H-variant featured an independent spoiler panel for finer control to make it easier:

In practice, the short fin combined with spoilers-only lateral control induced a tendency to Dutch-roll and low level handling was more sensitive than on earlier B-52s. Raising the spoilers also caused a slight pitch-up movement which was considered a real problem for inexperienced pilots when flight-refuelling. A later modification (used on the B-52H) the 'Airbrake 1' position gave a 10 degree independent movement on the outer spoiler sections for minor corrections, particularly during flight refuelling. The spoilers were powerful control devices. A B-52G from Robins AFB (28th BS) was landed using only throttles and its spoilers after total failure of the elevator controls. This feat won Crew E-21 the Mackay Trophy for 1982. [emphasis mine]

— Davies, Peter E., Tony Thornborough, and Tony Cassanova. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. Crowood, 1998.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the emphasis should be expanded a bit to include the next sentence. The B-52H generally refuels and lands with Airbrakes in Position 1 or 2. This allows the spoilers to act more like ailerons. So basically, as you put in a roll command you gain lift on one wing and lose lift on the other, instead of just losing lift on the one. This also helps bring the nose up, which I've always heard was a good thing from the stick actuators. $\endgroup$ – OSUZorba Apr 10 at 1:21

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