On Jan. 18, 1957, three B-52 Stratofortresses complete a 24,325-mile around-the-world nonstop flight, nicknamed Operation Power Flite, in 45 hours and 19 minutes, at an average speed of 534 mph. The flight was the first round-the-world flight for the heavy bomber aircraft.
Maj. Gen. Archie J. Old Jr. decided that he would fly in the lead airplane after 15th Air Force was given the lead in the mission. Planning went to the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle Air Force Base, Calif.
The flight took off from Castle AFB Jan. 16, 1957, circled the globe, and landed at March AFB, Calif., after almost four days. The general refused to get excited when he was greeted by the press shortly after landing. He told reporters that the flight was merely a "routine" Strategic Air Command mission and that "the planning and preparation that went into the aerial circumnavigation were identical to what was demanded every day in the 15th Air Force and the Strategic Air Command."
The National Aeronautic Association didn't think the flight was routine and awarded the 93rd BW the Mackay Trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year.
8/27/2012 6:41:52 PM ET Wasn't it this flight that the tail gunner laid claim to being the first person to fly around the world backwardsRGreg2080@aol.com