First B-2 Bomber Surpasses 7,000 Flight Hours: No April Fools joke:
Bombers Entered Service In July, 1996
Since the first B-2 Spirit arrived at Whiteman AFB in Missouri in July 1996, its stealthiness and massive firepower have been used in missions around the world. During its latest mission April 1, the "Spirit of Florida" and its crew became the first B-2 to surpass 7,000 flight hours. "This achievement is a testament to the men and women of both the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings who take a vested interest in the B-2 mission every day," said Lt. Col. Michael Pyburn, the 131st Operations Group commander. "Milestones like this cannot be accomplished without the dedication they consistently provide around the clock."
Cutaway of design
From the crew chiefs and maintainers who ready the aircraft for takeoff, to the pilots who control the Spirit of Florida -- reaching the 7,000-hour mark has been an immense effort. "We take a lot of pride in keeping our B-2s air-worthy," said Staff Sgt. Kent Sedgwick, the 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit's dedicated crew chief assigned to the Spirit of Florida. "It feels great to work on something that has such a powerful presence. The 'health' of our aircraft shows just how much time and effort our crew chiefs and maintainers put into making sure everything is taken care of so our jets can take off at any moment."
Now where would the design inspiration have come from?
The Spirit of Florida was also the first to reach the 5,000-hour mark, which it did in May 2007, and the first to reach the 6,000-hour mark, which it did in January 2010, Sedgwick said.
During this flight, the B-2 was flown by Maj. Benjamin Kaminsky and was landed by crew chief Airman 1st Class Elijah Noel.