NASA B-52H #025 Makes its Last Flight

NASA's B-52H #025 (61-0025) sits on the ramp at Dryden just before its last flight to Sheppard AFB, TX 5/9/08
Photo: Matt Graham

5/9/2008 - NASA's B-52H #025 (61-0025) departed the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at 10:56 PDT on May 9, for what would be its last flight. The aircraft was returned to the USAF by way of Sheppard AFB, TX. There, the aircraft will be utilized as a ground maintenance trainer. In an ironic twist, the crew had to wait to takeoff while two of the last flying F-117s from the 410th FLTS worked the Edwards pattern.

Apparently the old girl had other ideas, as the flight was originally scheduled for an 0800 takeoff, but that was postponed due to a leaking pressure switch in the flight controls, which had to be checked. Maybe she knew what was in store for her at the other end. Once the problem was fixed the flight was otherwise uneventful, with an arrival time of 18:12 PM CDT at Sheppard.

Originally the plan was for #025 to takeover the captive carry mission at Dryden after the famous NASA #008 B-52 was retired. However, a refocus by the current administration towards space programs diminished the budget for aeronautical programs. Because of this, it was decided that NASA's B-52 would be going back to the USAF, thereby ending a long tradition of B-52 assisted air launch ability at Dryden.

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