Environmental testing

Another very rare photograph which I just dug up. This is a scan from a 20 year old slide, so the quality isn't great.

A military aircraft often waits around a long time before it goes flying. And in the case of a nuclear bomber with a target in the Soviet Union, it might wait around in the wilds of the Dakotas or Alaska, sitting patiently in the sub-zero weather. And when it's time to go, it has to fire up at once. To test for this, and see what ground crews may have to do to keep the airplane live, the USAF has an environmental hangar at Eglin AFB, Florida that can produce temperatures from -60 to 120 degrees sustained.

This picture shows the B-1B (I actually forget which aircraft it was, B model 1 or 2) in that hangar, covered in ice, undergoing 30 days of testing (the aircraft was gone from Edwards fro 60 days). I did not go on this trip, so I don't have much to report. Though I did spend a day costing out replacing one of the horizontal stabilizers when Jerry D. (who had just gotten an unmerited promotion) ran a workstand into the leading edge of the stab. Dope.

Enjoy this rare shot