B-52 Makes Challenging Landing To Visit Oshkosh On Historic Anniversary

Illustration for article titled B-52 Makes Challenging Landing To Visit Oshkosh On Historic Anniversary

One of America’s biggest (both figuratively and literally) flying icons has never made it to America’s biggest air show, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh Wisconsin, until this year. The reason why? The B-52’s wing-mounted outrigger wheels are set apart almost as wide as the width of Oshkosh’s main runway, making landing there an even trickier affair than it already is in the B-52.


The first-of-its-kind landing and the Stratofortress’s subsequent presence at AirVenture will coincide with the B-52’s 60th anniversary of military service, a milestone that the U.S. Air Force and Boeing are very proud of.

Supposedly 6,000 feet of runway lights were removed to allow the legendary bomber to safely recover on Oshkosh’s largest runway. Major Jeremy Holt, a pilot with the 93rd Bomb Squadron out of Barksdale AFB who flew the B-52 into Oshkosh told the Thenorthwestern.com:

“We’re landing it on their largest runway, about 8,000 feet by 150 feet. It’s a tight squeeze for us...We usually land on runways 10,000 feet long and 300 feet wide so it’s half the width.”

As far as how the landing went, Major Holt described it in detail to Aviationweek.com:

“We made our approach at 136 knots and flared at 126, aiming for Brick One. As soon as we touched down, I popped the chute and fully extended the spoilers. We stopped in 5,000 ft.”


Once the 185 foot wide, 159 foot long B-52 made it safely to the ground, it was quickly towed to the static display area where it will sit as a centerpiece static exhibit for the duration of the show which runs through this weekend.

For more info about the mother of all American air shows, check out the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Oshkosh 2015 website here.


Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.



My old JROTC instructor was a B-52 and RC-135 navigator. One of his regular stops was Shemya, a tiny Aleutian Island that was about as close to Russia as we could put an airstrip. Regular, unpredictable hurricane-force blizzards, 50 knot crosswinds, freezing fog, a high cliff immediately ahead of the runway, and the ocean immediately behind it. There was very little room for error, unless you wanted your aircraft to become part of the scenery.

I have to think that if they could make this landing, Oshkosh felt like a breeze.