Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

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Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
formerly Lowry Heritage Museum (1984-1994)
Wings-over-the-rockies logo.png
Museum Logo
Established 1 December 1994 (1 December 1994)
Location Denver, Colorado, USA
Lowry Campus
(formerly USAF base)
Coordinates 39°43′15″N 104°53′44″W / 39.720746°N 104.895530°W / 39.720746; -104.895530
Type Air and space museum
Collection size Lowry AFB history
Colorado aviation history
President Greg Anderson
Curator Matthew Burchette
Public transit access Regional Transportation District
Nearest car park On site (no charge)
Website www.wingsmuseum.org and Facebook
Wings Museum front entrance, 10 May 2007

The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum (WOR) is located on the former grounds of Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. The museum, which opened in 1994, is housed in the 40,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) Hangar #1 built in 1939. The museum preserves the history of Lowry AFB's operations from 1938 to 1994 in its collections, archives, and research library. Features of the museum's collection USAF's B-1A Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bombers and many other military and general aviation aircraft.

In 1997, the Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 1269 that made the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum the official state air and space museum,[1] and the site of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society's Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame.

Overview[edit]

Entrance, 01 May 1999

The Wings Museum is open daily with exhibits, cockpit demonstrations hosted by volunteers and Civil Air Patrol Cadets. The Museum hosts summer Space Camp events and guided tours of aircraft and cockpits.

The Museum hosts annual events, such as a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber Fly-in, Denventure and rides at the local general aviation, annual Gala and the Spreading Wings Award.

On April 30, May 1 & 2 of 1999, the official Star Wars Fan Club in conjunction with Lucasfilm held "Star Wars Celebration" at the Museum's location. The first of several official Star Wars fan events, Star Wars Celebration was host to an estimated 20,000 Star Wars fans.[2]

Another resident of the Hangar 1 is the Colorado Air Heritage Museum,[3] sponsored by the Colorado Air National Guard Air Heritage Committee, retired Guardsmen and volunteers that displays the long history of the Colorado Air National Guard.

Aircraft collections[edit]

The museum holds over three dozen aircraft in its collection.

Military[edit]

B-1A No. 160 in Hangar No. 1
McDonnell F-101B,
(double click on photo for history)
Goodyear FG-1D

Civilian[edit]

Adam M309 twin engine. May 2007
McDonnell Apollo Boilerplate
BP-1101A. July 2007.

Previously exhibited[edit]

Exhibits and displays[edit]

Westinghouse J46-WE-8 cutaway engine

Previously exhibited[edit]

  • The Technical Aircraft Modeling Services (TAMS) featuring the Kirkham-Anderson Collection of Modeling magazines, drawings, publications, and books.
  • The Eisenhower Exhibit Room, displaying artifacts from President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Summer White House" in Denver.

Education and services[edit]

  • Adventures of Flight educational program for children.
  • Summer Space Camp program for kids, including space sciences.
  • Christmas Kid's Day program for kids winter break in late December.[7]
  • Annual Aeromodeling Expo in February for exhibits, inside and outside remote controlled(R/C) aircraft flying, R/C and modeller club displays, and hobby store booths.[7]
  • The Technical Research Library Services.

Museum aircraft gallery[edit]

Detailed aircraft history[edit]

B-52B Stratofortress s/n 52-0005 (previously RB-52B)[edit]

Closeup of B-52B 52-0005 after restoration, paint, and decals in 2000, taken July 2000.
Sources: Wings Museum files, USAF History Office Maxwell AFB, and Joe Baugher's website[8][9]

The B-52B was the first truly operational version of the venerable Stratofortresses. The RB-52B was nearly visibly identical to the B-52A, but the primary mission was to be an enhanced reconnaissance aircraft with a new bombing/navigation system. A few odd-shape panels and sensors protruded from the rear section as it sloped upward to the tail. A total of 50 were built, with 23 being pure bomber B-52Bs and 27 being dual-capable reconnaissance/bomber RB-52Bs.

Wings Museum’s B-52B, 52-0005, was from the February 1951 contract, as an RB-52B. While at Castle AFB, 005's nickname was known as "Balls 5", went through the conversion to a full bomber. It arrived at Lowry AFB in 1966, as a B-52B, to be assigned to Lowry Technical Training Center as a weapons trainer (GB-52B) and was featured in an air show that summer, before Lowry’s runways were permanently closed that year. Lowry was the premier training site for B-52 ordnance loading and unloading. For 11 years prior, it flew training and live nuclear flights during the Cold War.

Similar to its ‘little brother’ bomber, the medium range B-47 Stratojet, downward-firing ejection seats were provided for the bombardier and navigator, in the case of an in-flight emergency. General LeMay insisted that the tandem seats, again similar to the B-47, as demonstrated in the XB-52, was NOT to be the design and the side by side seating arrangement prevailed. The engines of the B/RB versions were turbojets, J-57s, with water injection, the same engines that had powered the B-52A, and also the F-100C,Ds and the F-102A. Great improvements in engine design and increase in thrust occurred in later versions.

The first B-52B took off on its maiden flight in December 1954. The “Strat” had a complex bombing/navigation system, which combined an optical bombsight, a radar presentation of target, and an automatic computer, together with radar modifications designed for use in a high-speed aircraft. The bomber included a fire-control system for the tail-mounted defensive armament. This B-52B used an A-3A fire control system, which operated a quartet of 0.50-inch machine guns. The last B-52B was delivered in August 1956.

The first change of Balls-5 was in September 1955, when it was converted from the RB to the B, at Edwards AFB. Improvement programs known as Sunflower brought 7 early B-52Bs up to B-52C standards. New Cs and later versions had the Big Belly Modifications. B-52Bs also went through many other modifications in subsequent programs such as Harvest Moon, Blue Band, and Quickclip, which were initially intended for the benefit of subsequent B-52 models. Cold War and training flights with nuclear status were continued.

Historical Dates[edit]

  • March 3, 1955—RB-52B S/N 52-0005 Boeing Co. Seattle delivered to USAF
  • Mar 1955—To 6515th Maintenance Group (Air Research and Development Command), Edwards AFB, California
  • Sep 1955—Modified to B-52B configuration
  • Oct 1955—To 93d Bombardment Wing (Strategic Air Command) 330th Bomb Squadron, Castle AFB, CA
  • Feb 1966—To Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona for storage
  • Jun 1966—To 3415th Maintenance & Supply Group, (Air Training Command), Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado
  • Oct 1975—To Lowry Technical Training Center (LTTC), Lowry AFB, Denver, CO, modified to GB-52B as weapons trainer
  • Apr 1982—Dropped from inventory, remained at LTTC
  • Circa 1984—Loaned to Lowry AFB Heritage Museum, Lowry AFB
  • Dec 1994—Loaned to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Lowry Campus, Denver, CO (museum name change).

Factoids[edit]

In June 1959, the sister ship of Wings' Double-O-5, serial number 52-0008, "Balls 8", was transferred to NASA, where it served alongside the NB-52A, 52-0003, as a mother ship for the X-15 rocket plane and with the Lifting Body project (early research for the Space Shuttle program). It was credited with 140 of the 199 X-15 flights. It was still active with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB up until retirement in 2004, where 003 retired in the 90s. 008 retired as the gate guard on October 1, 2004[10] at the entrance to Edwards AFB and 003 retired to Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona.

Specifications of Boeing B-52B/RB-52B Stratofortress[edit]

BUFF with correct tail color for the Yellowtails Squadron, taken May 2007

Manufacturer/Model:

Engines:

  • Eight Pratt & Whitney J57-P-1W, -1WA, or -1WB turbojets, each rated at 11,400 lb.s.t with water injection
  • Later, -29W/-29WA turbojets rated at 12,100 lb.s.t. (static thrust)

Performance:

  • Maximum speed 630 mph (1,010 km/h) at 19,800 feet, 598 mph (962 km/h) at 35,000 feet, 571 mph (919 km/h) at 45,750 feet
  • Cruising speed 523 mph (842 km/h) Service ceiling at combat weight 47,300 feet
  • Initial climb rate 4750 feet per minute
  • Combat radius 3,590 miles (5,780 km) with 10,000 pound bomb-load
  • Ferry range 7,343 miles (11,817 km)
  • Takeoff ground run ranges from 8200 feet to 10,500 feet

Dimensions:

  • Length 156 feet 6.9 inches
  • Wingspan 185 feet 0 inches
  • Height 48 feet 3.6 inches
  • Wing area 4,000 square feet (400 m2)

Weights:

  • 164,081 pounds empty
  • 272,000 pounds combat
  • 420,000 pounds maximum takeoff

Armament:

  • Two 20 mm M24A1 cannon with 400 rpg or four 0.50-inch M3 machine guns with 600 rpg in tail turret
  • Maximum offensive payload 43,000 pounds (internal and external) with two bomb bays

External Stores:

Avionics:

See also[edit]

Related lists

References[edit]

External links[edit]