26 September 1958

Boeing B-52D-1-BW Stratofortress 55-0049 (the first Wichita-built B-52) in flight. This is the same type bomber that set two world records, 26 September 1958. (U.S. Air Force)
COL Victor L. Sandacz USAF

26 September 1958: Lieutenant Colonel Victor Leonard Sandacz, with Kenneth G. Wolf, flew a Boeing B-52D Stratofortress of the 28th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, twice around a triangular circuit from Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, South Dakota, to Douglas, Arizona, Newberg, Oregon, and back to Rapid City. He established a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 10,000 Kilometers Without Payload with an average speed of 902.369 kilometers per hour (560.706 miles per hour).¹ Sandacz’s B-52 made two circuits in 11 hours, 9 minutes.

A second B-52D, flown by Captain Cholett Griswold and E.V. Godfrey, made a single circuit, setting an FAI World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 5,000 Kilometers Without Payload, averaging 961.867 kilometers per hour (597.676 miles per hour).² Griswold’s B-52 competed the course in 5 hours, 11 minutes, 49 seconds.

Observers from the National Aeronautic Association were aboard each bomber.

¹ FAI Record File Number 8498

² FAI Record File Number 8499

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

Share this article:

About Bryan Swopes

Bryan R. Swopes grew up in Southern California in the 1950s–60s, near the center of America's aerospace industry. He has had a life-long interest in aviation and space flight. Bryan is a retired commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor.

2 thoughts on “26 September 1958

  1. I enjoy the rich history that the Strategic Air Command has from General LeMay to present. My Dad was a Crew Chief on some of the earlier model B-52’s back in the early to mid 50’s at Loring AFB, ME & I followed in his footsteps as a 43152 at Ellsworth AFB, SD mid-to late 70’s. I was impressed with this story now knowing Ellsworth was a part of this event in history.

  2. As an individual who flew every model of the B-52 -A through H, I find the longevity and history of the B-52 an amazing read.

Comments are closed.