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Fateful B-52 flight revealed deadly weakness

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Flying low over snowy terrain on a Cold War training mission, Lt. Col. Dan Bulli's massive B-52 bomber hit turbulence that shook the plane so violently that he couldn't read the gauges. Pulling back on the yoke and pushing forward on the throttle, he tried to fly out of the severe wind. Then there was a loud bang. (news.yahoo.com) 更多...

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SWEATINTHSWAMP
The courage of men like these gave us the freedom we have today. Be very thankful for these guys.
gearup328
There's much we don't know. Was the autopilot on or off? Did he try to counter the turbulence or only just climb out of it? Most jet aircraft have a rudder limiter for the purpose of limiting the forces on the tail. I was once in very extreme turbulence on final to PHL. The autopilot tried to keep us exactly perfect like it was supposed to but this was not good. I disengaged it and hand flew and let the aircraft seek it's own place. Col. Bulli did what he thought was best and we can't disagree because we weren't there. Hats off to Col. Bulli.

learjet25lafferty
Thank you LT. Col. Dan Bulli.... You are a man among men!! :)
jprussell
I've been to that crash site. Pretty sobering.
learjet25lafferty
I have been a B-52 fan all my life!!!!
cfl02177
thank you and god bless
WigzellRM
A good report, unlike some of the poorly researched press articles that seem to dominate the news these days. RIP to those who lost their lives.
MarkShilling
Working in Greenville for a while I went to the crash site and was amazed that anyone could have survived that crash. Thanks to all who served.
jetlagged
We stand upon the shoulders of men who took risks as a matter of course inspired by duty. Thank you.
kaeseke
All American heroes for me. Still speaking my own language in a free country because of men like them. Thank you and god bless.
fenclbogus
Ray Fencl 1
One hell of a lot of men and women have died for out country in training accidents. We must never forget them!
kettler
In hindsight the B-52 crew's action may have unknowingly contributed to the disintegration of the aircraft. An aircraft in air turbulence is like a ship in rough seas. There really isn't anything one can do to mitigate it. By attempting to counter act the turbulence with control input the crew may well have overstressed the aircraft structure-in this case the vertical stabilizer- and caused its demise. The incient is not dissimilar to that of the Aerican Airlines Flt 587, A-300 which crashed as a result of having entered the wake trubulence of a preceding aircraft where the primay cause was determined to have been the co-pilot's attemps to counteract the trubulaence resulting in overstressing the aircraft's control surfaces- in this case,as in the B-52, the vertical stabilizer. Experience has shown that the most prudent method of dealing with turbulence, be it in the air or in the water, is to reduce power and permit the vehicle to seek its own level without control input.
wallypiper
Wally Piper 1
I don't know you Karl or what your qualifications are to comment on the crew's action. Given that they were apparently flying at low altitude already, reducing power and permitting the vehicle to seek its own level seems ill advised. He added power and tried to climb out of the turbulence. Commercial airlines do that all the time. I don't think he was trying to "counter act the turbulence". He was trying to climb to an altitude above it which seems totally reasonable since terrain was causing the turbulence.
kettler
The fact that the vertical stabilizer separated from the aircraft is a strong indication that the crew attempted to aggressively counteract the turbulence.
annellandfrank
John Taylor 1
Karl you're spot on! Auto-pilot off and reduce airspeed as much as possible staying well above the stall. Stabilize attitude, wings level, and ride it out w/essentially "neutral" controls . If terrain is a problem trade airspeed for altitude w/min pitch input. All that is a "given" i.e. SOP from any flight manual! Of more interest to me is that from Curtis LeMay to today, heavy bomber flight profiles are almost totally rigid. Shades of the "Cain Mutiny Court Martial" ....I worry that this dedicated aviator may have momentarily, and fatally, delayed exiting the route 'til it was too late. The other , and even more scary, is the possibility that the quick/severe on- set of the turbulence caused auto pilot inputs, in all axis, before it disconnected itself. Such an auto pilot malfunction is not uh-heard of...and all current terrain following systems function on auto pilot! My point....that would easily explain the rudder and subsequent AOC. It would also get this travesty off Col Bulli's back! I've been doing this work for 30 years..... and I am so tired of the inevitable: "pilot error"....when the dead pilot can't testify!!
richb007
My childhood was spent near Westover AFB. I remember a fellow classmate in high school, whose father was lost in a B-52 crash at Westover. There were 2 crashes, I believe, and it was probably the other one. Same scenario though, ejection at low altitude.

May we never forget all those, even if we don't remember their names, who have given their lives in the name of freedom.
skitchen8
Incredible story, thank you to those who have set their lives aside for the lives of me and my family.
yr2012
matt jensen 1
Thank you
angelspapa
NATURAL INSTICT IN A CASE LIKE THAT IS TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM WITH THE CONTROL WHEEL. I WAS A B-52 PILOT DURING THAT ERA AND THE LOW LEVEL MISSIONS ALWAYS HAD TURBULENCE. HE WAS IN A BAD AREA FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. MY MISSIONS WERE IN THE LOW DESERT COUNTRY AND ASSOCIATED MOUNTAINS.

ROBERT MADISON
kettler
With all due respect attemtpting to counter air turbulence,other than reducing speed, is counter productive.It only aggravates the condition. The aircraft is flying within the turbulence bubble that it cannot escape unless the turbulence ends. That "natural instinct" needs to be avoided. P.S. Don't you mean High Desert?
Johnstep
This is another instance of the cost of the Cold War in terms of lives. Many people do not remember that there were many lives lost during the Cold War. Some were the result of training accidents, as well as hostile action. We may never know the cost in lives lost on clandestine missions. Each was a hero to me as they were doing their duty never knowing when it was an exercise or if the "baloon finally had gone up". The Cold War is indeed a forgotten war, one which we won!

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