Campaign seeks funds to restore historic B-52 bomber

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History has launched an online campaign looking for funds to restore the first plane to ever drop a hydrogen bomb.

The B-52 bomber, first assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base in 1955, participated in Operation Redwing and Operation Dominic during its time in service. During Operation Redwing, it dropped a bomb named Cherokee at Bikini Atoll.

“It has a history that far surpasses most everything else that we have here,” said Jerry Hanks, the museum’s restoration coordinator.

The plane was never assigned to another air force base and has spent its retirement in Albuquerque, where the New Mexico weather and the years have taken their toll.

“This aircraft needs a complete restoration on the outside, body work and a total paint job,” Hanks said.

That isn’t cheap. The authorized paint for the plane runs $460 a gallon and the primer runs $300 a gallon. That paint is expected to last for at least 20 years.

To raise $60,000, about half the estimated cost of the project, the museum has launched an Indiegogo campaign. The restoration work is expected to be complete by the end of the summer or early fall.

“It’s just a beautiful aircraft and we’re going to take it back to the time it was brand new,” said Hanks. “Maybe even better than when it was brand new.”

The museum ran a similar campaign to restore a B-29 Superfortress last year.

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