32
$\begingroup$

In this YouTube video, discussing plans to use the 747 as an aircraft carrier, there is a brief sequence starting at 4 min 14 s, showing images of a B52:

B52 from underneath

B52 from side

What is the explanation for the very different inboard engine pod on the starboard wing? There is a current call for proposals to re-engine the B52 with eight modern engines. Was this an earlier test of moving to four larger engines instead?

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Wikipedia mentions that retrofitting the engines was considered in the 1970s and again in the 1980s, but I can't find a quotation that indicates it was physically tested. $\endgroup$ – ceejayoz Feb 6 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ You know, these days you could surely have a sort of "airborne drone aircraft carrier" - carrying a few dozen "big drones", say. Unreal! $\endgroup$ – Fattie Feb 8 at 19:02
52
$\begingroup$

Testbed Aircraft Cameos

As a young engineer in the 1960s at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft (now UTC’s Pratt & Whitney) in East Hartford, Connecticut, I was involved (along with many others) in the development of their 44,000 pound thrust (lbt) JT9D turbojet, which powered the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet aircraft[ Display footnote number: 2 ]. Because of its then ground-breaking large fan diameter (new for the 1960s), P&WA had to use a U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52 as a testbed. The Stratofortress, with its high wing, allowed the JT9D to be mounted with adequate ground clearance for takeoff and landing. In Figure 1, the P&WA testbed aircraft is shown landing at the Windsor Locks, Bradley International Airport, after a test flight, with a JT9D engine replacing two TF-33 inboard engines on the right wing of the eight-engined B-52.

The B-52 continued as a P&WA testbed aircraft until 1981, even after being damaged in its hangar by a violent tornado that raced through Windsor Locks in 1979. Pratt & Whitney more recently used two Boeing 747SP aircraft for testbeds, to flight test their new geared fan jet engines.

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for a definitive answer and image. The rest of that post is worth looking at too. Will leave this open for a further feedback but presumably this will be the answer I accept. $\endgroup$ – Michael MacAskill Feb 6 at 21:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dammit, beaten by just minutes :) points to you good sir for quicker fingers. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Feb 6 at 22:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does anyone happen to know the ultimate fate of JB-52E? Since it's a -E and the only ones in service today are -H I would assume it was either scrapped or boneyarded, but would love to know for certain. $\endgroup$ – Ian Kemp Feb 7 at 8:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ FTR, the JT9D is a turbofan, not turbojet. $\endgroup$ – leftaroundabout Feb 7 at 9:12
21
$\begingroup$

The plane in the pictures is Boeing JB-52E -test plane.

It used to test for instance the General Electric TF-39 engines for the C-5 Galaxy as it was under development

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Nice - extends the other answer by showing that this was a testbed for several engine types. $\endgroup$ – Michael MacAskill Feb 6 at 21:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.