Cockpit Photos – Inside B-52 Stratofortress

I had the amazing chance to enter a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and see it from inside. This very plane was built in 1961 and is still on active duty, at least till 2020. It seems like nothing was modernized since then as you can see on the photos below. Climbing through the cramped inside and sitting in the cockpit was quite a surreal experience. Big thanks to the crew!

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16 thoughts on “Cockpit Photos – Inside B-52 Stratofortress”

  1. You’re right about the B-52. It does seem like nothing was modernized on them since they originally flew. However, when you see the original ones next to the much more modern versions, you realize how much things have changed. Great pictures!

  2. Something I’ve been curious about regarding the B-52 and actually the other large bombers of the USAF (B-1 and B-2). In general the missions these aircraft fly are insanely long. I know a former USAF B-52 crew member who participated in Northern Patrols where B-52’s flew with nukes 24/7 up through Canada and the Artic Cirlce – a 30 hour mission was routine. I want to know what improvement they’ve made in crew comfort. I realize they aren’t flying “first class” with pretty stewardess handing out hot towels but a place to lay down and grab some Z’s or to go the bathroom. I would think in the modern bombers, there would be a head (I know that P-3 Orion has a head and galley). I’m sure the KC-135’s and the new 767 tankers have a head. I know it sounds sort of silly but I am curious (and I can’t find any info on this).

  3. I have aproximately 6000 hours in the B-52 and we did fly 24 hour missions flying various route. There is no “head” and no galley. You can urinate but you hold the remmainder. Regardless the B-52 was a pleasure to fly even if you had to take cat naps.

  4. Bull….

    There is a “honey Bucket” (head) just aft of the right load central breaker panel, complete with curtain..Also, there is a “piss can” downstairs at the aft pressure bulkhead, just right of the bomb bay crawl way door….

  5. I was a Nav/RN on B52 1965- 1985. A controversy came up on a mail list on B-52/KC 135 concerning the liferaft or survival kit for extra crew members not in ejection seats. Most of this group (including me) are so old a lot of facts get twisted.
    One of the old gunners is emphatic that there was no such kit. I’m sure there was but perhaps you could add some validity to that kit.

    Nice photos.

    Gary Ramthun
    Thornton Co

  6. I was a Jet Engine Tech on B-52D and KC-135 1966 to 1970, Both J-57s, on the 52 we dealt with alot of oil leaks and right ups were commom, (throttles don,t alighn in water injection on take off was common)so you run a tank of water and look for leaks among other things.

  7. I was a crew chief of 60-017 in MOT from 66 to 68 and as a non-ejection seat member there was no life raft. I can also tell you there was a piss can on the upper and lower deck and a honey bucket that was dumped by the offending person. We also had a bunk under the left load bank that was just about next to nothing but at least you could get horizontal.

    I dont think any airplane can crash through hangar doors and still be safe to fly. Able to fly is another issue.

    What a great airplane!

  8. I flew B-52Gs (pilot) in the 1980s. In answer to a few of the questions raised above: 1. The only lavatory facilities in the G model were a sort of coffee can shaped device mounted on the rear bulkhead of the down stairs (navigator compartment). As a 6 foot guy I had to twist my body quite uncomfortably just to be able to get in a position where I could urinate into the thing. In addition, the Navigator instructor, if one was aboard, was literally sitting directly next to the can, so that his head was level with your pen** . In general it was B-52 etiquette that the instructor nav would get up out of his seat if someone wanted to use the can, but on one occasion I remember the guy wouldn’t get up, and since the noise level in a B-52 is way beyond the ability of human voice, I couldn’t tell him to leave. In the end I reminded him of the etiquette, by “accidentally” directing a stream of urine onto his shoulder. 2. The toilet (for solid waste) was under the electronic warfare instructors seat (he actually had two places to sit, one for takeoff and one for instructing), and it was simply a standard 5 gallon bucket. In all the time I flew I only know of one instance in which the “toilet” was used, and the offending person (the EW) had to bag it and take it with him at the end of the flight. I believe that someone on the crew (the gunner?) took his picture while on the toilet just to complete the humiliation (I do not recall any curtain). 3. There were no survival kits for anyone not in an ejection seat, only parachutes. 4. The bunk on a G model was nothing but the floor space leading from the cockpit to the electronic warfare station and ladder (which took you down to the nav station and exit hatch). I once spent most of a 14 hour flight in the “bunk” and I simply cannot imagine how anyone could actually sleep there (I was there to do some landing practice at the end of the flight, and to act as safety observer during low level). 5. The pilots instrument panel in the G and H models was greatly updated since the planes were built in 1959-1962. In addition to some equipment relating to bomb arming and release the entire EVS (electro optical viewing system) and terrain avoidance system was added (in the 70s I think). The EVS system necessitated the 2 large CRT displays that you see in the panel, which required many of the other instruments to be moved or replaced. With this system we could fly low level at night, in the mountains, and still see what was ahead of us with low light TV, FLIR and radar. The system worked remarkably well considering how long ago it was built. We could see heat trails from aircraft that were obscured by clouds, or our low level route when it was too dark to see anything by looking out the windows. 6. We routinely flew 12-14 hour missions but had no kitchen facilities, only box lunches or what we brought with us for snacks. Total time spent in the aircraft on a mission could easily run to 16 hours when you include startup (especially if there were problems with the plane, not an uncommon occurrence .

  9. Hello, I am modeling a 1/33 scale B-52 H, and I need actual dimensions of all the canopy windows, side, front, and top. Is this something you could help me locate? Thank you, robert w.

  10. Yes, as mentioned before by “captbilly”, these CRT monitors belong to the EVS (electro optical viewing system). The EVS uses forward-looking infrared, high resolution low-light-level television sensors to augment the targeting, battle assessment, flight safety and terrain-avoidance system, improving its combat ability and low-level flight capability.

  11. Do you have a close up of the bail out light and the instructions printed on the panel next to the light? this would be either at the EWO/gunner panel on the upper deck or at the navigators panel on the lower deck. Thanks!