Retired Barksdale Official Discusses B-52 Stratofortress

Retired Lt. Gen. Peyton Cole
Retired Lt. Gen. Peyton Cole

By Jonathan McCall - bio | email

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - "It's a sad day for the Barksdale, and our United States Air Force." 4 crewmembers from Barksdale Air Force Base are still missing after the B-52 Stratofortress plane 6 were in, crashed 20 miles from Andersen Air Force Base on the Pacific island of Guam. "I can recall we had an accident with a B-52 with fatalities back in the late 80's so you can tell how rare this is."

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Peyton Cole says the B-52 Stratofortress is one of the safest planes in the military fleet, considering this model has been in the fleet since the 60's. And since 1988, only 2 accidents involving the Stratofortress occurred before the latest crash in Guam. Cole says the Stratofortress has plenty of safety measures on board in case of an emergency. "There are lots of different multiple systems. If something goes out, be it electricity or hydraulic systems. There are back up on top of back ups.

The crewmembers were practicing for a fly-over, when the plane went down. Cole says thousands of missions just like it are carried out every day, and crewmembers go through thousands of hours in flight training to prepare them for something like this. Cole also says the plane is inspected thoroughly before it ever leaves the ground.  "That aircraft cant get off the ground with the thousands of maintenance personnel that are required to make sure the air craft is in tip-top shape."

After spending years in the cockpit of a B-52 himself, Cole says he can only imagine what could have went wrong, and what was going through the minds of the crewmembers as the plane was going down. "As rare as it occurs, something like this can absolutely shock a wing."