Tinker completes B-52 restoration as ‘Wise Guy’ re-enters arsenal

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  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Nearly a year after arriving at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, the second B-52H “Stratofortress” bomber to be resurrected from the Arizona desert has left to rejoin the Air Force fleet.

Flown by an aircrew from the Air Force Reserve's 10th Flight Test Squadron, “Wise Guy” departed Tinker Air Force Base on March 10, 2021, to return to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota, where it re-entered service.

The aircraft arrived at Tinker in April 2020 to undergo programmed depot maintenance at the OC-ALC. PDM is the final part of a three-phase process to regenerate the aircraft and deliver rapid, effective, affordable combat power back to active service.

During PDM, Wise Guy presented the team with two main challenges: electrical wiring projects and main landing gear structural defects. Leaders said the motivation and dedication of everyone involved to overcome those challenges ensured the regeneration program was successful.

OC-ALC Commander Brig. Gen. Jeff King lauded the efforts of Team Tinker to bring Wise Guy back to life.

“Organizations from across the B-52 enterprise worked as one team with the goal of restoring readiness,” the general said. “Using Art of the Possible, and fighting through a global pandemic, they made it happen. I cannot express how proud I am of the work they accomplished, and I can’t wait to see photos of Wise Guy in the hands of our combat aircrews flying operational missions again.”

The operation was truly a team effort.  Air Force Life Cycle Management Center provided engineering and logistics support, the 76th Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight traveled to Arizona to prepare the aircraft for flight after its years in storage, and meticulous restoration by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group assigned to the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Once at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, the 76th Commodities Maintenance Group repaired and manufactured parts, the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group overhauled engines and manufactured parts, the 565th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron completed the structural repairs, and the 10th FLTS ensured that the aircraft was safe to fly.

In addition to the production side, the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group Business Offices and the 76th Maintenance Support Group ensured the team had the resources it needed, while the 76th Software Maintenance Group provided the required software updates.

Wise Guy joins Ghost Rider, which was the first B-52 to be regenerated in 2015, and brings the number of B-52 bombers mandated by Congress to full strength at 76 total aircraft.