I’ve been excited to watch the raising of the venerable B-52 that sits outside of the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. This beautiful bird has sat almost “forgotten” between two hangars, behind chain link fences. Visitors to the museum can’t help but see her as they turn down the road and head towards the entrance to the museum. But she still seemed, forgotten. She wasn’t really part of the museum’s exhibits, sitting outside in the weather while the other smaller, and more compact aircraft entertained the visitors inside the vast hangar.
But today, that changed. The beautiful B-52 Stratofortress was going to take to the air one more time. A short distance flight, about 20 feet up and 30 East to come to a final resting location on top of 15 foot high steel beam pedestals; a huge leap forward to her well deserved, honorable location.
True, she is still outside and seemingly alone. But now she is above our heads, as she should be. She will shelter the new Veterans Memorial Plaza that will be dedicated beneath her protective wings. She will no longer be just “that big plane outside.” Now she will be the focal point of the entrance to the Museum. She will be hard to miss. Visitors coming to the museum now will be able to get “up close” to her, walk beneath her wings and shelter in her shadow. As the museum continues to renovate, eventually people will be able to take refreshment under her wings, and children will laugh and play beneath her as they take in her massive size.
Over 200 people and news camera’s came out to watch the Lady take her final flight. The children in attendance were in awe at what made the adults stop and stare. Everyone gasped and held their breath as she was raised high. We clapped in amazement as the two cranes brought her nose ever so slightly up, and stood enraptured as she was slowly positioned and gently lowered on to her new duty station.
It was an amazing feat. An amazing image. It was just amazing. I’ve never seen a plane lifted. I’ve seen a B-52 fly before, but there was definitely something different, eerie and yet comforting seeing this huge bird moved so gently and reverently. There was one really big “gasp” moment, when her fuselage wrinkled and popped under her massive weight. But in the end, she stayed whole. I can’t wait to see how her final duty station will be. I’m sure when she landed at Lowry Air Force Base in 1966 as a trainer, she never believed she’d someday become the cornerstone of a beautiful plaza dedicated to the men and women she trained and an amazing museum with a very bright future.
The B-52B Stratofortress
- Nickname: “BUFF” (Big Ugly Fat Fellow)
- Wingspan: 185 ft
- Length: 156 ft 7 in
- Height: 48 ft 4 in.
- Empty Weight: 185,000 lbs
This Plane:B-52B, SN52-005
- Originally built as an RB-52 reconnaissance version with a new bombing/navigation system.
- After 6 months at Edwards AFB, CA recon equipment was removed
- Spent 11 years with SAC’s 93’rd Bomb Wing at Castle AFB, CA
- Arrived at Lowry AFB in 1966 to be assigned to Training Command
- Featured in the air show the summer before Lowry’s runways were permanently closed.