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AVIATION HISTORY

B-1 STRATEGIC BOMBER

Flight Test Program

First flight of the B-1 marked the beginning of several years of flight testing, which will ultimately include all four B-1 test aircraft. This flight test program, in keeping with the Department of Defense "try-before-buy" policy, is one of the most comprehensive ever developed for a military aircraft. It will provide nearly two years of extensive test data before the award of initial production contracts.

Two B-1 prototypes are currently flying at Edwards AFB, with flights scheduled up to four times per month for each aircraft. This allows time for Air Force and contractor engineers to assimilate the extensive amount of test data gathered on each flight.

Flights during the early portion of the program were built one upon the other to clear the B-1 for initial operation and performance of its primary penetration mission. This required the aircraft to fly at terrain- following altitudes at nearly the speed of sound.

The two B-1 aircraft have successfully completed nearly 200 hours of flight testing. Flight test accomplishments to date include:

• Top speed of 2.1 Mach (approximately 1,350 mph; 2,160 kmh)

• Top altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)

• Demonstration of low altitude penetration capability, including flight at .83 Mach (approximately 625 mph; 1,006 km/h) at 200 feet (61 meters) above ground

• Full wing sweep

• Aerial refuelings to maximum inflight gross weight

• Maximum weight takeoff

• Assisted and unassisted engine airstarts

• Maximum speed landing gear operation

• Manual terrain following radar evaluation

• Weapons bay door operation while carrying eight inert Short Range Attack Missiles (SRAM)

• Flutter and flying qualities evaluations

Five test pilots have been checked out in the B-1, including one representing the Strategic Air Command/Air Force Test and Evaluation Center.

Environmental Information

Development of the B-1, from the programs inception, has been in consonance with all Federal environmental laws, executive orders, regulations, and with criteria and standards published by the Environmental Protection Agency. Every effort is being made to minimize the effects of the aircraft on the environment.

The B-1's engines incorporate new technology that makes them among the cleanest and most efficient ever built. Tests indicate that the F101 engine has a combustion efficiency of 99.5 percent and is virtually smokeless. Engine emissions are lower than other aircraft and much lower than other operational bombers.

While specific fuel consumption is classified, the B-1 will use about 25 percent less fuel than the B-52 for the same mission. And by spending more time on alert and less time in the air, the B-1 force will consume less than one-quarter of the fuel used by today's force of B-52s. Fuel savings are expected to be close to a half-billion gallons (1.89 billion liters) a year.

Noise levels of the B-1, when its afterburners are not in use, are considerably lower than those of other military aircraft; they compare favorably with the newest commercial aircraft. Afterburners noise levels are comparable with other aircraft.

The B-1 is capable of flying at supersonic speeds and therefore can cause sonic boom. Such impacts are expected to be minimal, however, since only a very small percentage of the B-1's flight time will be at supersonic speeds. Supersonic flights will be limited to established corridors which will minimize disturbance to population centers and national park areas.

The aircraft is not expected to have an impact on the stratosphere environment because of its low emission levels and the small amount of time flown at those altitudes.


All information on this page is from the USAF Fact Sheet of May 1976 regarding B-1 Strategic Bomber aircraft. aeroengineer.net only provided the web design for this page.