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Was the B-2 Spirit flown at Groom Lake?

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posted on Aug, 6 2006 @ 10:44 AM
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OK Im starting this thread because I have looked around and havn't really found any information on what I want. I'm talking about this beauty:


According to the official story the B-2 was developed in complete secrecy by Northrop, unveiled in November 1988 and then flown for the first tim at Edwards in July 1989. To me this makes no sense and I'm sure most of you will agree that if you had built an above top secret bomber that was more expensive than its own weight in solid gold you would at least have taken it for a spin before showing it to the world!

So the question is do you think the B-2 was flown at Groom Lake before it was officially released? And is there any information to support this?

I know most people believe it was flown at Area 51 but no matter how much I look I cant find any information on the topic.

We have a detailed information of the Have Blue project and F-117a flying there, but alot of stuff relating to the B-2 is still classified compared to pretty much all the info on the Nighthawk being released. Perhaps in the future we will know as much about the B-2 as we do about the U-2 and it will be common knowledge that it was flown at Area 51 but I want to know as much as possible now!




posted on Aug, 6 2006 @ 01:40 PM
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There is not even a hint of information that it ever flew before the Edwards flight. All the testing before then was done in windtunnels, and on computers. There was no need to fly it before the unveiling, because they already had every one of Jack Northrops notes from the XB-49 project. The biggest differences were the RAM coating, and the fact that the B-2 is FBW and more advanced system wise.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 12:18 AM
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The B-2 was more of a "gray" program than a "black" program. It made its public debut in a rollout ceremony at AF Plant 42 in Palmdale on 22 November 1988. Its maiden flight took place on 17 July 1989, from Palmdale to Edwards. Developmental testing took place at Edwards.

Low Observables (L.O.) tests took place in the early 1990s using the Dynamic Coherent Measurement System (DYCOMS) range at Groom Lake, Nevada. All B-2 airframes have had their radar cross-section (RCS) verified with the DYCOMS aerial RCS range.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 12:25 AM
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Here's a thread about the NT-43A RTB that EG&G operates for the USAF to test the stealth RCS.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 10:39 AM
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I know this is a lot of speculation to some degree, but I believe the answer is YES! During the Groom Lake Research Project we found evidence that suggest the B-2 may have flown from Area 51 in the early to mid 1980's.

B-2 at Groom Lake

This is the link I found that convinced me that the B-2 was tested at Groom Lake. You have to scroll about 1/2 way down the page (give or take) to see what I'm talking about.

I believe they did an overhaul of AV-1 just before the roll-out at Palmdale in 1988. This Overhall lasted several months and allowed them to make the (false) claim that it was making it "1st" flight.

Tim



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 11:28 AM
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Sorry, Tim. The first B-2 wasn't completed by the mid-1980s. It definitely made its first flight from Palmdale in 1989. I have to defer to the knowledge of those who built it and the pilots who flew the maiden flight. They ought to know.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
All the testing before then was done in windtunnels, and on computers. There was no need to fly it before the unveiling, because they already had every one of Jack Northrops notes from the XB-49 project. The biggest differences were the RAM coating, and the fact that the B-2 is FBW and more advanced system wise.

We all know that computers and windtunnels are no substitute for actual airtime hours. Also the XB-49 is clearly a totally different aircraft, it has vertical stabilisers, a different shaped rear and a different wing sweep. Lets be realistic, the AF spend billions on this project and I do believe it was flown before public release.


Originally posted by Shadowhawk
The B-2 was more of a "gray" program than a "black" program.

Although the projects existance was perhaps more grey than black, IMO the development, technology and resulting plane were definately black. So much of it is still classified!


Originally posted by ghost
I know this is a lot of speculation to some degree, but I believe the answer is YES! During the Groom Lake Research Project we found evidence that suggest the B-2 may have flown from Area 51 in the early to mid 1980's.

I believe they did an overhaul of AV-1 just before the roll-out at Palmdale in 1988. This Overhall lasted several months and allowed them to make the (false) claim that it was making it "1st" flight.


Although that site is interesting I cant let myself be convinced until someone digs out the photo. Im just stuborn like that! This seems to be the only scrap of evidence for this though.

Also I might sound stupid but I dont know what AV-1 is



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 11:36 AM
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AV-1 Air Vehicle #1

They might not be the same as real flight, but that doesn't mean they're going to be way off as well. You're going to have a PRETTY good idea how it's gonna work when you do your first flight.

And I realize that the XB-49 has differences, but the similarities in them are enough to also have a pretty good idea as to how it's going to fly.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by Shadowhawk
Sorry, Tim. The first B-2 wasn't completed by the mid-1980s. It definitely made its first flight from Palmdale in 1989. I have to defer to the knowledge of those who built it and the pilots who flew the maiden flight. They ought to know.


So, why are there sighings of an aircraft that looks like a B-2 that date to the earily 1980's?

Is there maybe some really secret plane that looks similar to the B-2? Any guess what it could be? Maybe a TR-3 Black Manta?

No offence, I believe you are honest, but the story still doesn't sound right to me!

Tim

[edit on 7-8-2006 by ghost]



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
They might not be the same as real flight, but that doesn't mean they're going to be way off as well. You're going to have a PRETTY good idea how it's gonna work when you do your first flight.

And I realize that the XB-49 has differences, but the similarities in them are enough to also have a pretty good idea as to how it's going to fly.


Although thats true I dont think they are similar enough.

The B-2 project cost an estimated 23 billion dollars and each one is 50 times more expensive than an F-117a. The F-117 was developed in complete secrecy and flown possibly hundreds of times at Groom Lake before it was revealed. Tacit Blue, the direct precedor of the B-2 bomber in terms of stealth technology was also flown many many times at Groom lake.

I just dont believe that they would even consider making the first flight practicaly in front of the assmebled world press (and world military chiefs). From this, assuming that it was flown at least once before release the only practical and realistic place for this is Groom Lake.

I really believe that it was flown there but I just want some evidence! Even a scrap.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 03:06 PM
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Well since you've made your mind up already good luck finding what isn't there.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 03:10 PM
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I said at the very beginning that I was starting this thread to look for some evidence.

I welcome your opinion and would like to keep hearing what you think on this topic, but if I dont agree with what you said Im going to say, and I did say what this thread was at the start.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 03:58 PM
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Maybe you're not thinking this through logically, G.F.A.D.

In order to make the first flight from Groom Lake they would have had to truck the disassembled aircraft to Nevada, reassemble it, fly it and then get it back to California (in secrecy!) for it's flight from Palmdale to Edwards. What part of this sounds likely? It would have been expensive, complicated, and pointless.

Besides, there was no reason to make a clandestine first flight. It was no secret that the airplane was under construction and being prepared for its maiden flight. Also, test flights were planned to take place during daylight hours. It would have been quickly spotted by observers, so there was no reason for subterfuge. Like many previous bomber prototypes (XB-70, B-1, etc.) the B-2 flight test program began with a short ferry flight from the manufacturing site (AF Plant 42) to the test site (Edwards).

Don't take my word for it. Ask Bruce Hinds (Northrop Chief Test Pilot during the B-2 program) and Col. Richard Couch (Director of the B-2 Combined Test Force). They made the first flight.

The only B-2-related activities at Groom in the 1980s involved TACIT BLUE, a technology demonstrator that had a direct influence on the B-2 design including development of the flight control system, low observables shaping and materials, propulsion installation, and electronic systems.

Richard G. Thomas (Hinds' predecessor) made most of the TACIT BLUE flights including the first and last. He stopped flying in 1986, but continued to work on the B-2 program, developing flying techniques in the simulator prior the first flight by Hinds and Couch.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 04:17 PM
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They did the exact thing with Tacit Blue, Have Blue and YF-117a. Assembled it at the Lockheed plant in complete secrecy and then either flown or driven to area 51 for secret testing. I do acknowledge that the B-2 is a considerably larger aircraft but it doesnt make it impossible.

You say it would have been "expensive, complicated, and pointless". The first two I agree with but the third I dont. It has been shown that whether it is pointless or not the AF chiefs and designers clearly think it is worth it as they did it with three previous aircraft. Also testing the most expensive and technologically advanced aircraft in the world without the prying eyes of percieved enermy nations is in my opinion not useless.



[edit on 7/8/06 by gfad]



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 10:00 PM
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The B-2 was going to be flown during daylight hours. There was no question that it would be seen by uncleared personnel, even beyond the test range boundaries. [I myself, saw the B-2 flying over Groom Lake in 1994.]

Since the B-2 was going to be seen, there was no reason to go to elaborate lengths to try to fly it secretly. Also, the B-2 was more widely acknowledged because it was a strategic weapon. There were political reasons for wanting to wave it in the face of the Soviets. The F-117A, was more of a clandestine, "Silver Bullet" type of weapon. In modern terms, the F-117A was "Shock" and the B-2 was "Awe."



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 02:13 AM
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Do you mean it was going to be flown operationally during daylight hours or test flown during daylight hours?

If you do mean operationally, there is alot of information you CANT gain on a plane by just watching it fly over you.

Classified testing is a vital part of the development of this type of plane and I would be very suprised if a B-2 or perhaps a prototype (like what Have Blue was to F-117a) wasnt tested before public release.



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 07:49 AM
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Originally posted by Shadowhawk
The B-2 was going to be flown during daylight hours. There was no question that it would be seen by uncleared personnel, even beyond the test range boundaries. [I myself, saw the B-2 flying over Groom Lake in 1994.]


True, However I must raise two points of fact here in all fairness. You point out that the B-2's first flight was during the day. What you didn't consider is that the same is TRUE of the Have Blue, Tacit Blue, and the F-117! In fact in his book Skunk Works Ben Rich states that the first YF-117 took off at 9 something on the moning(don't rememer the exact time) on June 18, 1981. This was clearly a daytime flight. So if you're arguing that the F-117 was tested under cover of darkness, you would be wrong! That being the case, you argument that the B-2 could have been seen also applies to the F-117.

Also, I'm only talking about flying TEST versions of the B-2 at Groom Lake, not operational planes.

Now, as Shadowhawk said:



Also, the B-2 was more widely acknowledged because it was a strategic weapon. There were political reasons for wanting to wave it in the face of the Soviets.


That still has nothing to do with the reasons why you would build and test it secretly first!

Case in Point: In WW2 the Atomic Bomb was clearly a startegic weapon (you can't deny that). However, the US didn't wave it's development in the world's face telling everyone what we had before it dropped it on Japan!

Using the above historic example, I can argue that you're point isn't correct!

The best Reason to develop it secretly before you admit that it exists is exactly why you said it should be known:

By hiding it at first, you protect all the plane's secrets. Then you can wave it in the face of the Soviets/Russians and show them your newest weapon. Then they would suddenly find themselves facing an "Operational" weapon system they know nothing about and aren't prepared to defend themselves against!

Why would you want to "Give Up" this awesome power of strategic leverage if you don't need to?

Tim



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 03:08 PM
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We are in the age of computers here folks. Even in 1988 there was plenty of equipment out there. By 1988 you could build an entire plane on a sever and watch all the parts of it operate. Scale models can be wind tunnel tested with near perfect accuracy and at a fraction of the cost. 'Test' flying a freshly assemebled B2 would accomplish the same purpose as the computer simulations, and you can actually test much more extensive sets of conditions, with no risk to the pilot, plane, or surrounding area, again at a fraction of the cost. You don't even need to pay for jet fuel! So when it finally took off from it's base, all that inital testing had already been done, at that point there were simply writing the manual for it, and training the pilots...

It's at least one possibility. If I'm not mistaken, the new Airbus 380 was developed in much the same way. They even built a simulator for the pilots to learn on before the plane existed, that's how much data was gathered from just computer testing.



posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 06:55 AM
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You cant test fly an aircraft in a wind tunnel because you cant shrink down all the components in an aircraft into a smaller version. The whole point of a first test flight is to see if all the components and fuselage work together as expected.

If this incredible technology that allows you to test an aircraft without flying it existed in 1988 then why do planes still have to go through the long and expensive regime of test flights before they are approved by the FAA? Why dont Airbus just email them a 3D model of the A380 and be done with it?

I know why ... test flying is still a vital part of buildign an aircraft just as much as it was in 1988. There is no substitue for having the actual full size plane flying in the actual sky, not a wind tunnel, for checking that it operates as expected.



posted on Aug, 29 2006 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by sp00ner
We are in the age of computers here folks. Even in 1988 there was plenty of equipment out there. By 1988 you could build an entire plane on a sever and watch all the parts of it operate. Scale models can be wind tunnel tested with near perfect accuracy and at a fraction of the cost. 'Test' flying a freshly assemebled B2 would accomplish the same purpose as the computer simulations, and you can actually test much more extensive sets of conditions, with no risk to the pilot, plane, or surrounding area, again at a fraction of the cost.


I have to disagree! The way you wrote this, you seem to imply that fight testing is obsolete(unless I misunderstood)! Sorry, but that is Bogus! One of the purposes of flight testing is to varify the perdictions you made. You have to realizes computers still have limits. If computers have made flight testing Obsolete, why dose the US Air Force still spend billions to maintain a flight-test center at Edward AFB in Calafornia?

Tim



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