US Air Force to assess what caused B-52 bomber engine to shut down

The US Air Force will assess what had caused an engine failure on one of its B-52 bombers which made an emergency landing at RAF Fairford.

The aircraft circled around Gloucestershire for around an hour and a half on Thursday to burn off fuel before it landed at the county’s RAF base at around 5.15pm.

An RAF spokesman said three B-52 bombers were on a routine sortie from the US across Europe when one aircraft suffered an engine failure.

B-52 at RAF Fairford
B-52 at RAF Fairford

He said the bomber was halfway through the Mediterranean when one of its eight engines shut down, although he added B-52 planes can run on two engines.

“They had to make a decision to either continue or divert, if it was a major emergency it would go to the nearest airfield which could’ve been southern Italy or France,” he said.

It was flown to RAF Fairford as the airfield accommodates US Air Force personnel and is used to handling B-52 aircraft, he said, but could not confirm where the bomber had flown from or whether it had been carrying weapons.

B-52 bomber at RAF Fairford
B-52 bomber at RAF Fairford

US engineers will fly to RAF Fairford to assess the aircraft before it is flown back home, he added, which could take a couple of days or up to a week.

The B-52, manufactured by Boeing, is the US Air Force’s long-range bomber which entered into service in 1951.

Also known as the Stratofortress, the B-52 is capable of carrying nearly 70,000lbs, 32 tonnes, of weapons and can reach a maximum speed of 1,000km/h.

The US Air Force has been contacted for comment.