EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — The Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bomber, which for more than 50 years has been the backbone of the U.S. Air Force bomber fleet, will be a prime attraction at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in.
The 63rd annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) convention, which annually draws 10,000 airplanes and total attendance of 500,000, is July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
It marks the first time a B-52 will be on ground display during event, although similar aircraft have done fly-bys at Oshkosh on several occasions. The aircraft is from the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 93rd Bomb Squadron of the 307th Bomb Wing, based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. It is scheduled to be on display at the showcase Boeing Plaza area throughout AirVenture week.
The B-52 is marking its 60th anniversary of active military service this year, as it first flew in 1954 and entered military service in 1955. It has received regular upgrades to modernize its flight equipment and capabilities, with the B-52H models still active through its assignments at Air Force bases in Barksdale as well as Minot, North Dakota.
Aerial refueling allows the B-52 to fly a range limited only by crew endurance. In 1996, the airplane flew a 34-hour, 16,000-mile combat mission from Louisiana to Iraq. Without refueling, the aircraft has a range in excess of 8,800 miles with a five-person crew.
The 307th Bomb Wing flies and maintains 20 B-52H Stratofortress aircraft. The 307th Operations Group oversees three squadrons, including the 93rd Bomb Squadron. The unit has a long and distinguished history, as it was founded as the 307th Bombardment Group with the Army Air Corps in 1942 and saw its first service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The 307th flew B-17s, B-24s, B-29s, and B-47s prior to flying B-52s.
The 93rd Bomb Group has an even longer history, having been founded in 1917 as the 93rd Aero Squadron that saw service in World War I. In 2009, it became a formal B-52 training unit. The 93rd Bomb group has also received the Air Force’s Curtis LeMay Award as the nation’s top bomber squadron twice in the past four years.