B-2 Spirit Looks Flat Like a Pancake on Hot Nevada Runway

B-2 Spirit at Nellis AFB 15 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Michael Richmond
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The B-2 Spirit has to be the most weirdly-shaped aircraft currently patrolling the skies of the world in military overalls. The multi-role bomber is nothing but a huge flying wing, a flat and UFO-ish shape in the sky, and even weirder on the ground.
Introduced at the end of the 1990s in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) arsenal, the B-2 is also a very rare sight, with just 20 of them having been made, one of which for testing purposes.

The strange shape of the machine is owed to the need of it deflecting radar beams to become invisible and capable of sneaking behind enemy lines with both conventional and nuclear munitions.

Everything that makes the aircraft what it is, from the cockpit to the bomb bay, are included in the same, triangular flying wing. Even the engines, four General Electric powerplants capable of developing 17,300 pounds of thrust each, blend in with the fuselage to make for one stealthy bird of prey.

Being so rare, opportunities to see the B-2 Spirit in action, especially on the ground, are equally scarce. Thankfully, at the end of January, the USAF held the Red Flag-Nellis 22-1 at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and the B-2 was part of the action.

It is from that event that the main image of this piece comes from, showing one of the few existing B-2s, deployed with the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, taxiing on the runway, looking all flat and floating on its extended landing gear.

Despite looking so thin, once in the air, the B-2 can fly, unrefueled, for about 6,000 nautical miles (9,600 km), while carrying 40,000 pounds (18,144 kg) of bombs or some other payload.

It didn’t have to do that over Nevada, of course, but it’s kind of reassuring to know it can do that if need be.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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