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"B-52 Instrument panel." Topic

15 Posts

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1,395 hits since 22 Jan 2013
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 8:54 p.m. PST

Want to share this pic which a friend had send me about the instrumental panel of a B-42 from 1956 on Cold War Era.


Hope you enyoy!.


Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 9:02 p.m. PST

Eight throttles, thirty-two gauges for the engines… Nice "office". Thanks for the photo!


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 9:21 p.m. PST

Pretty impressive looking.

Tankrider22 Jan 2013 9:29 p.m. PST

Where's the cup holder and vanity mirror?

Lion in the Stars22 Jan 2013 10:33 p.m. PST

Where's the cup holder and vanity mirror?

Those are only in fighter planes. Bombers have an onboard lavatory, so no cupholder or vanity mirror in the cockpit!

Garand22 Jan 2013 10:34 p.m. PST

I always wondered why, when upgrading this aircraft, they never replaced the 8 jet engines with 4 larger engines. Then I went looking for information, and apparently there is a program (not yet approved) to upgrade with 4 RR turbofans. These would be more fuel efficient (giving greater range), reliable, with less emissions. Still has not been approved yet… :/


Marcin from Assault Publishing Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 11:49 p.m. PST

Because, althought impressive, big-bombers are obsolete and are relicts of cold-war and I think major modernisation of them has little sense.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2013 5:03 a.m. PST

They are so obsolete that they are are still being upgraded to keep them flying at least until the 2040's and quite possibly beyond. The fact is that the B-52 is one of the most cost effective and reliable mud movers available.

And if the replacement is anything like the B1/B2/F35, it's quite possible the B-52 will keep on flying for several decades more.

The B1 doesn't even come out of its hangar until an army of techs have triple-checked that a falling leaf didn't cause irreversible damage to the outer skin, while its personal Feng Shui experts plot the route that makes it the most photogenic.

The B2 needs to be rubbed by naked women before it will even considered starting its engines, which run on the body oils of 17 endangered species. And their contract stipulates that they don't do missions on weekends.

Meanwhile the F35 is almost ready for service as they think its first pilot will be born any moment soon.

Razor7823 Jan 2013 5:35 a.m. PST

When I worked Buffs back in the early 80s there was a story going around that they tested an engine from a C5 by replacing two of the engines on one pylon with one C5 engine. They took off using the original 6 Buff engines and then started the C5 engine once airborne. They were able to shut off the 6 older engines and fly on just the one C5 engine but when they went to land they had to start the older 6 back up and shut down the one C5 because they couldn't slow down enough to land. Not sure how true it is but may explain why they never swapped them out.

Robert66623 Jan 2013 7:20 a.m. PST

Patrick R,

Very funny post. :-)

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 7:30 a.m. PST

They won't be re-engined anytime soon, because Congress doesn't see any disconnect between the two following statements:

Upgrade those antiques? Waste of money.

Buy a replacement heavy bomber when we have all these perfectly good B-52s? Waste of money.

A note on the gauges –
My dad flew Avengers off CVLs in the Pacific War. One time I asked him what the hell all those dials and such (far fewer than this example) were for, and he said "Damned if I know, about the only ones I ever used were the airspeed, altimeter, artificial horizon, compass and fuel. One time one of them looked different than usual when I was getting ready to take off, so I called one of the deck crew over, and he said shut it down and get out, so I did.".

I expect they make the pilots know all that stuff nowadays, given the lack of a war emergency though.

BattlerBritain23 Jan 2013 8:44 a.m. PST

You'll find that that bank of 8 columns of dials are made of gauges that are no different to the engine gauges they used on B-17s. In fact one big argument for an upgrade is that modern aircraft use a TV-type display to show the same information and it's a lot easier to replace the TV when it breaks than it is to get someone who knows the ancient art of clock repairing to fix the B-17 instruments.

The gauges also have red and green paint around the edges to show when that particular engine is operating in good/bad ranges. Each engine operates slightly differently to the next but can still be OK. The gauges can also be rotated in place so that, when everything's working, all the dials point he same way so the crew can quickly scan that all's OK.

C-130s have similar instruments. At least RAF and RCAF Hercs did back in my day. The latest C-130H Hercs have a glass cockpit which avoids the ancient dials.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2013 10:40 a.m. PST

Happy you had enjoy the old pic boys!


Lion in the Stars23 Jan 2013 4:58 p.m. PST

@BattlerBritain: Not quite that old. Jet instruments are % power, piston engines actually have RPM indications. Same engine instruments as on a B36 or B47, not a B17. Flight instruments like the artificial horizon, though, yeah, those are the same as on a B17.

BattlerBritain24 Jan 2013 3:22 a.m. PST

Well the C-130 manuals I studied for the engine instruments were dated 1943 and showed where they were mounted in the B-17 instrument panel.

All they've done for the jets is change the face plate. The internal workings are the same, ie still the same old clockwork mechanisms.

As an Avionics Systems Engineer it was quite interesting for me to read up on how they made these old bits of kit.

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