Albuquerque’s Nuclear Museum looks to restore B-47 bomber


It’s an aircraft that is a legendary part of our country’s military history, and this one is involved in a new battle — a battle to restore it to its former glory. 

“In its early years it was virtually invulnerable. It could fly too high, too fast, for contemporary interceptors to catch,” 

But like so much Cold War military technology, there was an unstoppable super power that would catch up with the B-47 bomber: time. 

“The last one flew in 1977 they made 2,032 of them. There’s only 23 left and a smaller number of those are on exhibit to the public,” said David Hoover, Museum Curator and Collections Manager at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. 

As they’ve gone to their graveyards around the country, one sits right here at Albuquerque’s Nuclear Museum, just down the road from its former home at Kirtland Air Force Base. 

“But all these veterans that flew these airplanes, and we see them all the time come through and they get really emotional about this and these airplanes are so important to so many people, especially here in Albuquerque,” Hoover said. 

Now the museum is looking to spruce it up to its former glory. 

“So we like to call it Albuquerque’s bomber, so it’s just a great plane. It was just amazing to see the transformation that that plane went through… all the hard work of our volunteers,” he said. 

Two years ago, the museum raised $60,000 online to help with a B-52 makeover. That Kirtland-based bomber was the first to drop an H-bomb in the ’50s.

It looks as good as new now, body work, a coat of fresh paint that goes for hundreds of dollars a gallon, and working lights. That’s now the mission for the B-47. 

“It’s a great teaching tool. It has great stories to be told and we’re just proud to be able to tell its story,” Hoover said. 

The museum will launch an online fundraising campaign for the project next week. It’s looking to raise $47,000 for the B-47 makeover. 

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