Whiteman AFB B-2 Tour

 While at the Melbourne Air and Space Show in Melbourne, Florida I met an incredibly generous Colonel who offered to give me a tour of the B-2 at Whiteman AFB in Missouri.  A few weeks of paperwork (DD2400, DD2401, and DD2402) and planning (at the expense of build time on the RV-10) and Jeff and I were Kansas City bound in the Cherokee -140 to pick up Bryan before back tracking to Whiteman for the tour.  A headwind meant the Cherokee was hammering along at about 80 knots over the ground allowing the hobbs to tick over a slight bit over 12 hours on the way there. The folks at Atlantic in Kansas City (KMKC) were fantastic.  They have free parking for pistons and while they don’t sell 100LL you can top off a few hundred feet away from their parking at the field’s self service pumps.   Ate bbq at Q39 at the recommendation of the staff at Atlantic and slept in a hotel close to the field for an early start the following morning.  Planned the schedule so that if the Cherokee broke on the ground we would still have time to get a rental car and make it to Whiteman on time.  As luck would have it the Cherokee cranked up and a short flight later we were cleared to land Runway 01 at Whiteman.  After landing we taxied past a few rows of covered parking with A-10s and T-38s in them.  Just beyond the covered parking was the Spirit of Florida sitting on the ramp with our parking spot a few hundred yards beyond that abeam the control tower.  Well down the ramp and lined up in a row in front of their hangers were 8 or 9 additional B-2s having come back from a training mission the night before.  After walking into the building below the control tower the Colonel came to pick us up a few minutes later in his car to take us to the hanger where the Spirit of Texas was sitting.  This particular hanger was where they recondition the coatings on the exterior of the airplanes.  Understandably we were not allowed to take any pictures of the aircraft or its hanger but we did spend an hour walking around it and climbing in the cockpit to check it out.  After experiencing the Spirit of Texas we went for lunch at the Stars and Strikes Bowling Center on base for a hamburger and fries.  Following lunch we got back in his car and drove to the B-2 simulator building.  We each got about 30 minutes in the simulator with the Colonel sitting left seat doing instruction.  Our sim time included a takeoff, AF (aerial refueling), instrument landing/touch and go, and a visual landing.  I was able to make contact with the tanker and take fuel,  made the ILS landing with his help on the throttle, and mucked the visual landing on my own as I was unable to identify the runway and lined up on the hangers (eek).  The simulator was full motion and exactly what you would expect.  All of the glass/buttons/switches/etc that were in the Spirit of Texas were in this simulator.  It was very similar to the A320 sim we got to fly at Jet Blue last year with regard to quality of equipment and realism.  After the time in the sim we loaded back up in his car and headed back to the building we originally met him in, showed the Colonel the Cherokee from the window and prepared to depart.  

 

Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airpot (KMKC) to Whiteman AFB (KSZL)

Whiteman AFB (KSZL) to Charles B Wheeler Downtown Airpot (KMKC)

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