The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum (WOR) is located on the former grounds of Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. The museum, which opened in 1994, is housed in the Hangar #1 built in 1939. The museum preserves the history of Lowry AFB's operations from 1938 to 1994 in its collection and research library. Features of the museum's collection include an Alexander Eaglerock biplane built in Englewood and a B-1A Lancer bomber.
During the summers, the Museum hosts weekly Space Camp events tailored to different age brackets of children. The children experience the basics of the theory of flight, computer flight simulators, hand-built aircraft exercises, and guided tours of aircraft and cockpits. Activities are supervised by trained staff and volunteers at all times.
The Museum hosts multiple annual events, such as a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber Fly-in and rides at the local general aviation Centennial Airport. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) provides the B-17, senior pilots and crew, a traveling gift store, and paid flights with reservations.
Other events include the Annual Gala, a formal affair for fund-raising; silent auctions; and visits by nationally-renowned aviators as Burt Rutan and Gen. Chuck Yeager. Annual events are also held for the local Lowry community, Buckley AFB, Colorado National Guard and on Veterans Day and other holidays.
The Wings Museum also provides over of special event space for formal gatherings, Presidential engagements, antique shows, arts and crafts expos, company parties, educational programs, local sporting venues, concerts, and military ceremonies.
The Museum holds joint events with the Colorado Aviation Historical Society and shares aircraft restoration techniques with other Colorado aviation museums. See the list of museums in the Wikipedia Articles and External Links Sections.
The B-52B was the first truly operational version of the venerable Stratofortresses. The RB-52B was nearly visibly identical to the B-52A, but the primary mission was to be an enhanced reconnaissance aircraft with a new bombing/navigation system. A few odd-shape panels and sensors protruded from the rear section as it sloped upward to the tail. A total of 50 were built, with 23 being pure bomber B-52Bs and 27 being dual-capable reconnaissance/bomber RB-52Bs.
Wings Museum’s B-52B, 52-005, was from the February 1951 contract, as an RB-52B. While at Castle AFB, 005's nickname was know as "Balls 5", went through the conversion to a full bomber. It arrived at Lowry AFB in 1966, as a B-52B, to be assigned to Lowry Technical Training Center as a weapons trainer (GB-52B) and was featured in an air show that summer, before Lowry’s runways were permanently closed that year. Lowry was the premier training site for B-52 ordnance loading and unloading. For 11 years prior, it flew training and live nuclear flights during the Cold War.
Similar to its ‘little brother’ bomber, the medium range B-47 Stratojet, downward-firing ejection seats were provided for the bombardier and navigator, in the case of an in-flight emergency. General LeMay insisted that the tandem seats, again similar to the B-47, as demonstrated in the XB-52, was NOT to be the design and the side by side seating arrangement prevailed. The engines of the B/RB versions were turbojets, J-57s, with water injection, the same engines that had powered the B-52A, and also the F-100C,Ds and the F-102A. Great improvements in engine design and increase in thrust occurred in later versions.
The first B-52B took off on its maiden flight in December 1954. The “Strat” had a complex bombing/navigation system, which combined an optical bombsight, a radar presentation of target, and an automatic computer, together with radar modifications designed for use in a high-speed aircraft. The bomber included a fire control system for the tail-mounted defensive armament. This B-52B used an A-3A fire control system, which operated a quartet of 0.50-inch machine guns. The last B-52B was delivered in August 1956.
The first change of Balls-5 was in September 1955, when it was converted from the RB to the B, at Edwards AFB. Improvement programs known as Sunflower brought 7 early B-52Bs up to B-52C standards. New Cs and later versions had the Big Belly Modifications. B-52Bs also went through many other modifications in subsequent programs such as Harvest Moon, Blue Band, and Quickclip, which were initially intended for the benefit of subsequent B-52 models. Cold War and training flights with nuclear status were continued.