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Old 01-06-2012, 02:31 AM   #1
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Rockwell B1 Bomber

So I have just read the whole thread about the SR71 (and similar aircraft) and wonder if anyone out there has tales, stories, experiences of the Rockwell B1 - to me a pretty bloody cool airplane.

my only experience is standing under one at the RIAT Fairford in 1997(?), impressed by the size, massiveness of it.

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Old 01-06-2012, 02:51 AM   #2
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I was at RIAT Fairford in 2007.

My Fairford 2007 pictures:
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
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There was also one there in 2009, but no flying.

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Old 01-06-2012, 03:40 AM   #4
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Neat airplane, and taken by itself would probably get the adrenaline flowing, but 13 pages of Blackbird porn have left me somewhat jaded and right now the B1 leaves the same impression as a Porsche Cayenne.

Tough act to follow, that SR-71.

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Old 01-06-2012, 04:32 AM   #5
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I was a structure repair tech on the B1 for my four years of service in the USAF, 1986-90. It's an over-engineered beast and was hell to work on a lot of times. Goofy fasteners, odd placement of common service points, and titanium tubing with difficult joints and a the odd habit of shattering when stressed. But................

One helluva thing to watch fly. It's pretty inspiring to watch a nearly 150 foot long aircraft go vertical right after take off. I repaired a lot of tail radomes because a hot rod pilot tried to go vertical a bit too soon and scraped the tail during take-off or touch-n-goes. At an airshow I once saw the B1 turn INSIDE the turn of an F-4 fighter at low altitude. The damned thing is maneuverable and once you see it do some of it's tricks it started to make sense that they used a T-38 for pilot training.

As a repair tech I don't have any cool pilot stories to relate. My memories are more goofy service stuff like the time my co-worker decided to hang his jacket on the nose gear as we worked. While we were up top an avionics tech showed up to do some work. As is SOP, the av-tech turned on the landing lights to alert ground crew that he had the radar active. Within a few minutes we saw smoke rising from the aircraft and after abandoning ship and watching the firetrucks show up, we discovered it was my buddies coat that caused the chaos. The landing lights had burned a nice 12" hole through it.

I miss that job and loved it with a passion. I don't mind saying that I was pretty damned good at it too, having been selected as an A1C, over several Sgt's in my shop, to attend additional advanced composites training. Just too much bullshit to put up with during my off-the-job time for me to stay in.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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One of the pilots I flew with was a former "Bone" jockey...he said it flew like it was on rails during low-level high speed runs. I imagine coming to the C-5 was a bit of a let-down for him, but at least on long flights he can get up and go stretch his legs, grab a cup of coffee and sack out in the bunk room instead of having to keep his ass strapped into an ejection seat all the time.

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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Last year at the Milwaukee Air and Water show one did a fly by. Several passes, high G (well, for a bomber I guess) turns and a couple with the burners lit, just under subsonic.

Impressive to watch fly.

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:16 AM   #8
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My first time to big bend national park (texas) was in 1998. As we approached marathon,tx we crested a hill in the late afternoon sun that spilled into a flat basin, perhaps 10 miles long (lots of wide open spaces out there)

I saw a jet approaching east to west us 90 from the south. It looked like a fighter jet, maybe an f 16 from a distance but when it got over the road It was much larger than that. It turned east and had us marveling as it flew right over our heads at a fairly low altitude. While we were chattering on I stated thinking that maybe there was another around.

I looked south towards a distant mountain range and saw the second one come bursting out of a canyon, heading straight for us. I desperately tried to fish a camera out of my tank bag as it approached and did the same turn as the first one but it was long gone by the time I found it.

I understand they routinely fly through the park out of dyess, years back ranchers in the area filed a lawsuit claiming the fly bys were stressing out the livestock but it got thrown out.

I've been back to BB several times since and usually manage to see them, but still no pics. Last time was in 09, stayed with some friends south of alpine and caught them just as we were leaving.

Moral of the story is keep a camera handy in big bend, if you miss the first B1, stay tuned because another will be along shortly.

found a short vid

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:37 AM   #9
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I was at an air show at McConnell, AFB in Wichita a few years ago. There was a static display of the B1. The pilot was there talking to the crowd and I was there listening to him tell everyone about the planes capabilities.

Up walks an older gentleman, wearing WWII vet hat, the vet thanks the young pilot for his service and then proceeded to tell the young pilot that he flew in the B-17 and that he was amazed at the differences between his plane the B17 and the young pilots B1.

The young pilot immediately without hesitation took this WWII vet up into the plane to have a look around. The plane was off limits to the public other than walking around the outside of the plane.

I thought it was cool that the young pilot took him on the tour of the plane and the respect that was shown between the two was inspiring.

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Old 01-06-2012, 09:26 AM   #10
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Originally quoted by eric2:

My first time to big bend national park (texas) was in 1998...
Sadly, I can remember the loss of a B1 during night training at low altitude in deep West Texas.

A B-1B [86-0106] assigned to the 96th Wing at Dyess AFB crashed on 30 November 1992 [sometimes reported as 01 December], killing all of its crew. The aircraft crashed 300 feet below a 6,500-foot ridge line approximately 36 miles south-southwest of Van Horn, Texas south of El Paso. The bomber was on a routine low-level night sortie, flying parallel to and several hundred feet below the rim of an extended ridge in Texas. The B-1 started a left turn in the direction of the ridge twenty-eight seconds before impact. At 13 seconds before impact, the automatic terrain following system aboard the aircraft generated a "flyup" -- part of the bomber's terrain-following system. Just prior to the crash crew members manually interrupted the B-1's "generated flyup" feature. The Air Force attributed the crash to pilot error.

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Old 01-06-2012, 10:36 AM   #11
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A few years back I was skiing at Wolf Creek when two B-1s flew right over us! Caught me completely off guard, so no pictures. Very impressive plane to watch fly over the mountains!
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:45 AM   #12
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I just remember them taking off at the last air show I was at... Loud loud loud mf'in plane
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:52 AM   #13
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Back a long while ago, probably about 96 or so I saw on in the Albuquerque airspace flying around town. It was pretty cool in the sky.
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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I was on highway 12 in eastern Montana maybe 15 years ago when I pulled the bike over to take a break. I heard thunder a couple times and was looking around for the thunderstorm, but it was clear skies. I happened to look down the valley, the terminus of which was the Powder River, I think. I glimpsed a B-1 bomber flying across the entrance to the valley following the river at almost no altitude. They must have been practicing low-altitude ingress for bombing missions. It was really spooky and cool looking.

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Old 01-06-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
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In July, 1989, I was taking a pre-employment sheetmetal class at Boeing Wichita. This was on the east side of Oliver, on the south end of the Mod area, so we had a mostly clear view of McConnell's runways. One morning at 0600, a fellow student and I were walking toward the parking lot after class when a single B1-B rolled by us at full burner. He took off and continued straight south on burners until he was too small to see unaided. Oh, and this was a KANG plane, not USAF. KANG has since lost its bomber squadron.
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