Edwards Air Force Base

Located just outside of the North Gate of Edwards Air Force Base in California is a historic B-52 Stratofortress.

Boeing NB-52 in test flight with F-104 Starfighter in 1979 Boeing NB-52 in flight (NASA archives)

This NB-52B aircraft, tail number 52-0008, was flown by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for many years to test other aircraft like the X-15, HL-10, and the hypersonic X-43.

It flew as "Balls 8" in support of NASA research until December of 2004, making it the oldest flying B-52B. It was replaced by a modified B-52H airplane.

A pylon was fitted under the right wing between the fuselage and the inboard engines with a 6-by-8-foot section removed from the right wing flap in order to accommodate the X-15's tail.

It flew a total of 159 captive-carry and launch missions in support of the X-15 program, from June 1959 until October 1968.

It also flew missions supporting the X-24, HiMAT, Lifting Body vehicles, X-43, early launches of the OSC Pegasus rocket and numerous others.

"The High and Mighty One", NB-52A serial number 52-003, is the other mothership that was used for X-15 flights. It is on display at Pima in Tucson, AZ. (see photo below)

Access from Highway 58 is via exit 186 (Edwards AFB). The aircraft display is about two miles from Highway 58. Ample paved parking and safe, paved sidewalks are provided.

Additional aircraft are located at the West Gate and at Blackbird Park in Palmdale, both accessible to the public.

The Air Force Flight Test Museum is located on Edwards AFB. Visitor access is limited; link to the museum website for details on displays and visitor information.

Photo Highlights of Edwards AFB North Gate Display

Sign at the North Gate, Edwards Air Force Base, California
Sign at the North Gate, Edwards Air Force Base, California
NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008, North Gate, Edwards Air Force Base, California
Service with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008, North Gate, Edwards Air Force Base, California
Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008
NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008, North Gate, Edwards Air Force Base, California
NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008 of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008 of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
Projects and service engagements listed on the fuselage of NASA's NB-52B Stratofortress
Projects and service engagements listed on the fuselage of NASA's NB-52B Stratofortress
View of the tail section of NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008, North Gate, Edwards AFB
View of the tail section of NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008, North Gate, Edwards AFB
Engines on NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008
Engines on NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008
View of the tail on NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008
View of the tail on NB-52B Stratofortress S/N 52-0008

 

 

Plenty of paved, safe parking is available at the North Gate for viewing the B-52
Plenty of paved, safe parking is available at the North Gate for viewing the B-52
NB-52A Stratofortress S/N 52-0003, "The High and Mighty", used by NASA in the X-15 test program,
on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ
NB-52A Stratofortress S/N 52-0003, "The High and Mighty", used by NASA in the X-15 test program


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