Boeing's legendary B-52 Stratofortress turned 50 on 12 April. Taking part in celebrations to mark the first flight milestone at Wichita, Kansas, where most of the 742-strong B-52 fleet was built, was NASA's silver B-52B known throughout the US flight test community as "008". Not only is this remarkable aircraft the oldest in NASA's fleet, but at 47 years old it is also the earliest B-52 still flying. Ironically, thanks to its rarified flight test role, it has only around 2,410 flight hours on the clock making "008" the youngest B-52 in operation in terms of wear and tear. Its claims to fame include playing mothership to the X-15, several lifting bodies and the Pegasus booster. Also at Wichita was 008's eventual replacement - an ex-USAF B-52H dating from the 1960s. No doubt this youngster will see in the 100th anniversary in 2052!

Source: Flight International