MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) — Until quite recently, this B-52H bomber, built in 1961, was sitting in what the U.S. Air Force calls their ‘boneyard’ in Arizona.
It actually sat there for a decade until Air Force Technical Sergeants like Taylor Bauer and Travis Whitaker were charged with the first steps in bringing ‘Wiseguy’ back to life.
“A lot of the hardware we inspected would be right up there in the wingtip gear,” explains Whitaker.
From ‘boneyard’ to Barksdale to Tinker Air Force Base, this aircraft arrived in Oklahoma on the 1st of April, 2020.
Military and civilian teams at Tinker call what they do here PDM, or Program Depot Maintenance.
Squadron Director Jeff Base says ‘Wiseguy’ needed a lot more work than the usual aircraft they receive.
He explains, “We’re adding additional work, additional modifications, to bring it up to fleet standards.”
Crews here are working around the clock, seven days a week, on six different B-52’s.
Structures Chief Mike Basham and his people got to work solving the ‘Wiseguy’ puzzle first; how to replace big parts that are often hard to reach.
He says, “I like to use the analogy; if you build a model, first complete that model and then go back in and get parts two and three out without destroying the whole model. It’s difficult.”
Dennis Dunigan and his team are working on inspecting and replacing miles of cables that run along the fuselage of this aircraft.
As a young Air Force recruit, he worked on this very B-52.
Seeing in whole again is a special thrill.
“To me,” he says, “It’s a great privilege to be part of the aircraft that started my aviation career.”
Before its 300-day restoration is complete, more than 500 people at Tinker’s Air Logistics Complex will have worked to bring ‘Wiseguy’ back to active duty service.
“That’s about 50,000 man hours,” says Mike Basham.
‘Boneyard’ to bright, shiny, and practically new.
There are 75 B-52’s currently left in active Air Force service.
When it’s finished in early 2021, ‘Wiseguy’ will be number 76.
It’s new projected retirement it now, tentatively, set for 2050, nearly 90 years after it was first built.
For more information on ‘Wiseguy’ and its progress, visit Tinker’s website.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.