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Joshua Moore sits in the cockpit of a B-52 Bomber at Eielson Air Force Base’s open house on Saturday. B-52s have been in active service since 1955, and have at times been flown by three generations of one family.

Eielson shows off iconic planes at open house

By Robin Wood, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers are really, really big — and at Eielson Air Force Base’s open house Saturday, the B-52 on display was a really big hit.

Parents and children waiting for their turns to climb in the cockpit filled the open doors of the bomb bay, a strange row of feet and shins is all that was visible from the outside.

Attendees sought shade under the B-52’s 185-foot wingspan amid near 80-degree temperatures, but inside the cramped cockpit, temperatures easily approached 100 degrees.

“We don’t get to turn on the air conditioning until it’s 130 degrees,” Major Will Lange said.

The bomber, usually stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was one of a dozen aircraft and various military vehicles on display Saturday. The open house officially commenced with a singing of the national anthem, punctuated by a flyover by four F-16 Fighting Falcons.

The last open house was held in 2015, and though it’s not an annual event, Eielson Air Force Base would like to make it a more regular event, Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla said. Along with celebrating the Air Force’s 70th birthday, this year’s open house was meant to “educate and celebrate. … Show the people here (Interior Alaska) who’ve never been on base, or not in a long time, our appreciation for your support,” Quintanilla said.

Attendees were all smiles and squints as they walked a

round a F-22 Raptor, CF-18 Hornet, F-15 Eagle, HH-60 Pave Hawk, AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk, F-16 Falcons and climbed aboard a KC-135.

This year’s open house also coincided with the international training exercise Red Flag Alaska, contributing to the large number of aircraft on display.

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