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  • Service Ceiling

    I was just reading an article on the B-52, and it said its service ceiling is 50,000 feet. It also reported a couple of time in Vietnam when a B-52 tailgunner shot down a pursuing Mig. So I wondered if the B-52 can carry 488,000 pounds of bombs to 50,000 feet because of the wing length. And do the Russian military fighters have that same climbing capability?

    I wondered about this because in ITCZ some thunderclouds rise near to 50,000 feet, and it seems the passenger jets cannot fly that high.

  • #2
    yeah MIG-29 on wiki is listed as 59,000 feet service ceiling and MIG-35 is 57,000 feet.
    August 29th will be the worst day of the year.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by EconomyClass View Post
      I was just reading an article on the B-52, and it said its service ceiling is 50,000 feet. It also reported a couple of time in Vietnam when a B-52 tailgunner shot down a pursuing Mig. So I wondered if the B-52 can carry 488,000 pounds of bombs to 50,000 feet because of the wing length. And do the Russian military fighters have that same climbing capability?

      I wondered about this because in ITCZ some thunderclouds rise near to 50,000 feet, and it seems the passenger jets cannot fly that high.
      For someone who works in computers, your searches tend to turn up strange data....

      1. The Maximum Take Off Weight of the B-52 is 488,000 pounds - maximum payload is 70,000 pounds of ordinance.

      2. As the air gets thinner the higher you go, wing area becomes increasingly important (although thrust can compensate) - as stall speed increases. A larger wing assists in achieving high altitudes. But a larger or longer wing means additional weight, and drag.

      3. Whilst most jet fighter aircraft don't as a rule have large long wings (hinders speed and manouvreability), they do have bucket loads more thrust than commercial airliners and most bombers, so they can gain decent altitudes by going fast enough to avoid a stall longer as they go higher. The Mig 15 of 1950 had a max altitude of 50,000 feet (although the early dodgy pressurisation probably was the main limitation). Since then, every Mig except the Mig 27 (ground attack) has been able to exceed this.

      4. One final point, I would doubt that a B52 at MTOW would take off and climb straight to 50,000 feet - just like airliners they probably had to employ a stepped climb as fuel burnt off too.

      5. The Concorde had a max altitude of 60,000 feet, however you are correct that airliners do not as a rule have a maximum altitude that would enable them to clear weather at 50,000 feet. Even if they did have a max altitude in the 50,000 feet range, that height would only be attainable under reduced load conditions.

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      • #4
        4. One final point, I would doubt that a B52 at MTOW would take off and climb straight to 50,000 feet - just like airliners they probably had to employ a stepped climb as fuel burnt off too.
        According to the Boeing site, the missions over Hanoi originated in Guam and the altitude was 30,000 feet.

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