2. Boeing engineers came up with the basic design of the B-52 in a Dayton, Ohio, hotel
In late October, 1948, after yet another rejection of their design by the Air Force, Boeing engineers gathered in the Van Cleve Hotel in Dayton, Ohio. The hotel was convenient to nearby Wright Field. By Friday night, October 22, the engineers completed the basic layout of what eventually became the B-52. They presented a design of an aircraft with 35 degree swept wings and 8 turbojet engines carried in four pods under the wings. Over the ensuing weekend the engineers built a model of their proposed design, using materials purchased in a local hobby shop. On Monday, October 25, the model and their proposal were presented to the Air Force. According to the engineers, the new aircraft would surpass all design specifications presented by the Air Force. They were given the go ahead to develop a full-scale mockup of the design.
The original design featured a tandem seating arrangement for the pilot and copilot, with the latter sitting directly behind the former. The commander of Strategic Area Command, the Air Force entity responsible for acquiring the airplane, insisted the arrangement be changed to a side-by-side cockpit. The commander, General Curtis Lemay, believed the tandem arrangement contributed to pilot fatigue on long flights. Lemay piloted one of three US B-29 bombers which flew nonstop from Japan to Chicago, Illinois, in 1945, a distance of over 5,800 miles. The flight took over 27 hours, giving Lemay considerable insight over the subject of pilot fatigue. Other changes occurred during the airplane’s development and testing, but the basic design of the B-52 took place over the course of that October weekend in Dayton, Ohio, the home of the Wright Brothers.