Operation Power Flite - Three US Air Force B-52's Fly Non-Stop Round-the-World
The B-52 jet bomber was designed to provide a high-altitude strategic bomber with
intercontinental range which was extended with in-flight refueling to permit missions
anywhere in the world. The B-52 was nicknamed BUFF (Big, Ugly, Fat Fellow).
On January 18, 1957 in a dramatic display of air power sufficient to strike fear
to the heart of any potential enemy, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) sent three of its
B-52 jet bombers round-the-world. Two B-52's participated as back-up aircraft. Their
trip round-the-world was non-stop with four in-flight refuelings by KC-97 tankers
flying from Canada, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Guam.
Operation Power Flight became the first jet aircraft to circle round-the-world non-stop.
They flew 24,325 miles in 45H 19M at an average speed of 534 mph from Castle AFB (January
16, 1957) landing at March AFB (January 18, 1957). They demonstrated to the world that the
US could fly the B-52 and hit any target in the world at any time.
The aircraft commanders of the three planes were Lt Col James H. Morris, Major
George Kalebaugh and Capt Charles W. Fink. The planes were named, Lucky Lady III, La Victoria
and Lonesome George. They bore Serial Numbers 53-0394, 53-0397 & 53-0398. Finks' crew was
made up as follows:
Capt Charles W. Fink Aircraft Commander
Lt Col Marcus Hill Jr Pilot
Capt Jay G. Bachman Pilot
Capt Cyril H. Dingwell Radar Operator
Capt Michael Stevens Navigator
Capt Edward M. Hollacher Navigator
Lt Joseph Tyra ECM Operator
Staff Sergeant James L. Busboom Tail Gunner
Tech Sergeant Joseph D. Armstrong Crew Chief
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