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Air Force plans to add privacy curtains to B-52 Bombers for female crew members

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Air Force plans to add privacy curtains to B-52 Bombers for female crew members who need to use the restroom as more women join the ranks – but there is only a urinal onboard

  • Due to space issues, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Bombers are not fitted out with a sitting toilet  
  • The Bombers were produced in the 1950s and 60s, when there were only male crew members; as such there is one small urinal installed on each of the aircraft  
  • There are currently 58 Bombers still in active use and they were given major upgrades between 2013 and 2015
  • During the upgrades, no curtains were installed, meaning crew continue to urinate and defecate without proper privacy 
  • The Air Force says with more women joining the service there is ‘a higher need for privacy during rest room activities’ and will soon install curtains 
  • However, with no sitting toilet on board, women will likely have to urinate into bags and bottles, while men can continue to use the urinal  

The Air Force plans to add privacy curtains to its fleet of B-52 Bombers as more women join the military.  

Earlier this month, the Air Force put out a statement soliciting information from textile companies about installing curtains around toilet facilities inside the aircraft. 

‘As the B-52 continues to fly long duration missions, especially with mixed crews, there is a higher need for privacy during rest room activities,’ officials wrote in the release.   

The bombers – known officially as Boeing B-52 Stratofortress – were produced between 1952 and 1962, a time when hardly any women served in the Air Force. 

The Air Force plans to add privacy curtains to its fleet of B-52 Bombers as more women join the military. One of the aircraft is seen flying through the sky in a photo taken in 2003 

Up to five crew can cram onto each Bomber, but space is tight inside

Up to five crew can cram onto each Bomber, but space is tight inside 

It was not until 1976 that females were accepted into the service on an equal basis with their male counterparts.  

As such, the Bombers were only fitted out with one small urinal, located just behind the offense compartment, according to Military Times.   

Given the lack of space on board the Bombers, there is no sitting toilet, and crew members must defecate into bags and dispose of the waste when they land. 

The Bombers are used for long-haul missions and can stay airborne for up to 40 hours. 

There have been reports that pilots take Immodium prior to flying in order to stop the need to relieve themselves. 

The Military Times reports that a ‘B-52 typically has two pilots, a weapons officer and an electronic warfare officer’ on board at any one time. 

Given the lack of space on board the Bombers, there is no sitting toilet, and crew members must defecate into bags and dispose of the waste when they land

Given the lack of space on board the Bombers, there is no sitting toilet, and crew members must defecate into bags and dispose of the waste when they land

The bombers - known officially as Boeing B-52 Stratofortress - were produced between 1952 and 1962, a time when hardly any women served in the Air Force

The bombers – known officially as Boeing B-52 Stratofortress – were produced between 1952 and 1962, a time when hardly any women served in the Air Force

As of June 2019, 58 of the Bombers are still in active use, while 18 are in reserve. 

The fleet went under major upgrades between 2013 and 2015, with the installation of new electronics, communications technology, computing, and avionics. 

However, no sitting toilets or privacy curtains were added. 

The Military Times reports that around 21 percent of all Air Force members are now women, but it is unclear how many fly in the B-52 Bombers. 

It’s believed the female pilots have to urinate into bags during flights, but the installation of the curtains will now allow them to do so with much more privacy. 

The Bombers are expected to continue flying for at least 30 more years following the recent upgrades. 

Almost all other Air Force aircraft, including the C-130 Hercules, the C-17 Globemaster III and the KC-46 Pegasus, have sitting toilets with privacy curtains or properly installed partitions. 

As of June 2019, 58 of the Bombers are still in active use, while 18 are in reserve. The fleet went under major upgrades between 2013 and 2015, with the installation of new electronics, communications technology, computing, and avionics. However, no sitting toilets or privacy curtains were added

As of June 2019, 58 of the Bombers are still in active use, while 18 are in reserve. The fleet went under major upgrades between 2013 and 2015, with the installation of new electronics, communications technology, computing, and avionics. However, no sitting toilets or privacy curtains were added

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