• HOME
  • Cyberflight
  • Eye-to-Eye
  • Data
  • Gallery
  • Homework
    > Stories
  • History
  • Jobs
  • Events & PA
  • Research
  • FAQs
  • Ask Us
  • Links

  • Jet Bomber in the Eye next

    One of our faithful readers who goes by "Grampz" was a WB-47 pilot, who took these bombers into typhoons even though the aircraft designers (Boeing) said those jet engines would "flame out" in the heavy rain, and the wings could snap off...

    There were no rules for flying a jet airplane into a tropical storm so we made it up as we went along, and then they wrote the book based on our method of operation. Sort of on the job training, which was scary as heck in a bird with flexible wings capable of scribing a 32-foot arc at the wing tips. What does the tech order say? "Don't fly into a thunderstorm". Try flying into a deluge of super-cooled water at 30,000 feet and see what it does to a jet engine and airframe when it instantly turns to ice.

    B&W pilot pic
    WB-47 Pilot
    SAC B-47
    The Stratojet

    I'll tell you what the water in the wall cloud did to (6) jet engines: as we penetrated the wall cloud and got into heavy water, the entire engine instrument panel would do violent gyrations with engine rpms and engine exhaust temps fluctuating wildly -- pretty scary! Never could figure out why the water didn't put the fires out, but it didn't.

    And how about this one?....... we were moving thru the wall cloud so fast that we actually would build up a bow wave on the windscreen, just like a motor boat. I believe that the short amount of time that we actually spent in the wall cloud itself was the saving grace. We'll never know, but I'm here to tell about it.

    The author spent several years flying B-47s for the Strategic Air Command, then moved into the weather version of the aircraft (WB-47) from 1963-1969, with the 55WRS and 9WRW (California), 53WRS (Puerto Rico), 54WRS (Guam), 56WRS (Japan), 57WRS (Hawaii), and Det 2, 57WRS (Philippines).

    Return to Story Index