Military Photo: B-52 Fly By

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Posted: 06/01/2006

This is not photoshopped. It happened in early 1989 off the coast of Mexico.   The U.S. carrier Ranger and B-52s were holding joint exercises. At this time Russian Bears and Badgers would locate carriers and take photos. The Air Force was playing the role of the Russians and the carrier’s fighter wing’s goal was to intercept the bombers once they were in range to escort them through the carrier air space.  One F-14 had to fly in-between bomber and the carrier so that any photo from the bomber would show an American fighter.  Once the Air Force found the Ranger, they kept on “buzzing” the ship and showing off.  That is why you don’t see any fighters in the photo. 

Two B-52s called the carrier (USS Ranger) and asked if they could do a fly-by, and the carrier air controller said yes. When the B-52s reported they were 9 kilometers out, the carrier controller said he didn't see them. The B-52s told the carrier folks to look down. The paint job on the B-52 made it hard to see from above, but as it got closer, the sailors could make it out, and the water the B-52 jets were causing to spray out. It's very, very rare for a USAF aircraft to do a fly-by below the flight deck of a carrier. But B-52s had been practicing low level flights for years, to come in under Soviet radar. In this case, the B-52 pilots asked the carrier controller if they would like the bombers come around again. The carrier guys said yes, and a lot more sailors had their cameras out this time.



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