The US Air Force claims the B-52 Stratofortress has "precision navigation capability", but officials were embarrassed after pilots burned up the wrong airfield - twice.

On Tuesday, visitors looked on aghast as the scheduled flypast took place some distance to the north of the airfield - at Blackbushe airfield 10km away, in fact.

It is likely the pilots mistook the British Car Auctions complex on the site for the chalets and halls of Farnborough - though how their precision navigation aids came to that conclusion will be the subject of a review by the USAF.

A source in ATC said: "On Monday the B-52 managed to turn back on track to fly part way down the display line. But 250kt - announced over the approach frequency by the pilot - was far too fast to make the turn needed, and a turn too far to the north was inevitable.

"When the pilot realised his mistake and tried to correct, the controller was having none of it and told him to break off."


The red-faced crew faced the flight back to base - probably Fairford in Gloucestershire - mission not accomplished. The B-52 follows in a proud USAF Farnborough tradition, as many regular visitors will remember. Two years ago a B-1B Lancer managed to perform flypasts at both Lasham and Blackbushe, mistaking them for Farnborough.

But yesterday, the B-52 was back, and finally got it right. The crowd's ironic cheers were almost certainly not appreciated.

Source: Flight Daily News