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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 48377
Last updated: 4 May 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B52 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-52G-90-BW Stratofortress
Owner/operator:319th BWg USAF (319th Bomb Wingg United States Air Force)
Registration: 57-6507
MSN: 464212
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:5
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota -   United States of America
Phase: Standing
Departure airport:Grand Forks AFB, ND
Destination airport:
The 319th bomb wing was in an exercise preparing for an ORI, and had just completed the flight phase of the inspection.
Postflight maintenance of a fuel transfer valve 29 fault was improperly performed. The valve was popping circuit breakers and technicians were performing fault isolation. The valve was energized in a nearly empty fuel cell. Technicians were continually resetting the breaker. The valve motor ignited the explosive fuel vapor in the tank. The explosion broke the bombers backbone. The forward fuselage fell onto the ground cutting off the crew exit. The maintenance crew inside was trapped as the remaining fuel burned.The plane melted with only a skeleton remaining, and the empenage left standing un marked.
Heroic actions on the part of maintenance crews saved adjacent planes from burning. Additional egress training was given to enlighten crews about alternate egress hatches and ropes in the B-52.

Alternative scenario as I observed and heard it. I was there in a parked truck in front of the aircraft. We had just dropped off McDonald to help refuel the aircraft after/if the valve was resolved. The valve failed in flight and the crew was unable to use the fuel. The crew also reset the breaker several times in flight. The mission was cut short and the resulting explosion was smaller than it could have been due to the low volume of vapor. The fire was larger due to the amount of fuel spilled on the ground.

Maintenance crew:

A1C Michael McDonald
Senior Airman Robert Gray
A1C Anthony Salva
Senior Airman Scott Wicik
A1C Robin Rise (the only woman)

Eight others were injured


I was performing avionics maintenance on 6507 that morning. I had just left the aircraft to pick up a radar altimeter for 6507. I was delayed in the shop as the technician screwed the lid onto the unit.
Job control had listed me as onboard the aircraft when it exploded.
They were in the process of calling my wife, when I intercepted the radio call to the maintenance supervisor, as we were on the ramp awaiting the fire departments final extinguishing of the fire.
The fatalities consisted of an instrument/autopilot, 2 fuel cell and 2 crew chief technicians.

Revision history:

07-Nov-2008 10:15 ASN archive Added
06-Nov-2009 01:44 JINX Updated
30-Sep-2010 02:45 highdesertjim Updated [Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
04-Aug-2011 23:57 Anon. Updated [Date, Source, Narrative]
25-Mar-2013 01:13 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
11-Oct-2015 07:01 Scott Johnston Updated [Embed code]
18-Oct-2016 06:16 hknight Updated [Total occupants, Narrative]
07-Oct-2018 19:05 joanied451 Updated [Source, Narrative]
18-Jan-2019 21:15 HydrogenWizard Updated [Narrative]
02-Feb-2020 09:35 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
11-Mar-2020 16:06 DG333 Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Operator]

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