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Big Bombers Coming to AirVenture Oshkosh
June 1, 2017 - Visitors to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 will be treated to a tremendous cross-section of bombers, including what we expect to be the first joint appearance of two flyable B-29s in decades, more than a dozen B-25s, and now, two from the U.S. Air Force’s current inventory, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and the Rockwell (now Boeing) B-1 Lancer.
The massive eight-engine B-52, known to some as the “BUFF,” is the backbone of the U.S. strategic bomber fleet, and is expected to remain so for decades to come. When it finally retires sometime in the mid-2040s, the type will have been in active service for an incredible 90 years, having been introduced in February of 1955. This only marks the second time that a B-52 will be displayed on the ground at AirVenture.
First flown in 1974, the swing-wing Rockwell B-1 Lancer, affectionately known as the “Bone,” didn’t enter service until 1986. The project was famously cancelled in 1977, then restarted four years later. The B-1 is like a bomber designed for fighter pilots. It’s sleek, maneuverable, and fast: capable of Mach 1.25, it’s the only supersonic strategic bomber in the U.S. inventory.
There’s never any one thing that defines a particular AirVenture, but to many, 2017 will be remembered as “the year of the bomber.”