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Here’s how B 2 bomber pilots pull off grueling 33 hour flights

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. — Being a B-2 pilot means experiencing the rush of takeoff and the pressure of weapons drops while flying in the nation’s only stealth bomber. But it also involves having to manage nap times with your co-pilot during daylong-plus flights.

“After you do a few [long-duration flights], anything under 20 hours doesn’t seem like a big deal,” said Capt. Chris “Thunder” Beck, a former B-52 pilot who recently graduated from B-2 pilot training school. Beck spoke to journalist and Defense News contributor Jeff Bolton during a visit to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Beck has yet to conduct a long-endurance flight in the B-2 Spirit, the stealth bomber produced by Northrop Grumman and introduced to the U.S. Air Force’s inventory in 1997. However, he got used to long missions while flying in the B-52, with one especially extended haul taking him from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to Japan, and then back.

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Mt. Vernon Chapter MOAA
Mt. Vernon Chapter MOAA

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