A Man Bought All the Excess B-2 Spirit Windshields and Used Them to Build His Daughter a Treehouse

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Andy Dunaway / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Andy Dunaway / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is among the most advanced aircraft ever developed. Designed to blend stealth with strength, it’s capable of performing tasks other bombers can’t, making it an importance asset within the US Air Force’s fleet. With a cost of $737 million per unit to build, it might be surprising to learn that its windshield was once available for purchase by the public. As one man told The Aviation Geek Club, he bought up the remaining stock and used them to build a structure on his property.

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit landing on a runway
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit arriving at Anersen Air Force Base, Guam, 2010. (Photo Credit: Airman 1st Class Julian North / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Brion Edwards was a communications technician in the US Air Force. He was stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, which is home to the fleet of B-2 Spirits. One day, he got talking to a non-commissioned officer, who was on his way to pick up some spare windshields a few states away.

“He told me that over 20 years of service and thousands of hours of flying transcontinental missions, a B-2 has never needed a windshield replaced,” Edwards told The Aviation Geek Club. “The windshields were believed to be indestructible.”

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit 'Spirit of Missouri' in flight
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Spirit of Missouri flying over Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, 2018. (Photo Credit: Balon Greyjoy / Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0)

It was as if the NCO had jinxed it; during what was intended to be a routine flight, one of the stealth bombers struck a Canadian Goose, resulting in a hairline crack on the B-2’s windshield. The obvious solution was to order a spare windshield to replace the cracked one, but there was a problem…

“The Maintenance Squadron placed an order with the Air Force parts depot, but they replied back that there were none in stock,” Edwards explained. “The spare windshields had been in the warehouse such a long time with no orders for them, that someone thought they belonged to a discontinued air frame.

“The windshields were sent to the Air Force DRMO [Defense Reutilization Marketing Office] program, which sells surplus items to the public.”

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit in flight
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit after completing a mission over Iraq, 2003. (Photo Credit: Cherie A. Thurlby / U.S. Air Force / Getty Images)

Not the type to back down from a challenge, members of the Maintenance Squadron contacted the company that manufactured the windshields for the B-2 and asked if they had any spares or could craft a new one. Unfortunately, there were no extras lying around and the molds used to form the glass had long since been thrown out.

While the company did offer to manufacture a new windshield, the cost would be exorbitant, as it would “need to retool an entire site,” given how complex the piece was. Given the situation, the parts depot reached out to the DRMO to see if the office had any information about who’d purchased the original windshields.

“After much effort, the Air Force was able to locate the man and sent a representative to his residence,” Edwards divulged. “The man still had all of the spare windshields in his possession and through an undisclosed amount, agreed to sell them back to the Air Force.”

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit in flight
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit conducting a test flight. (Photo Credit: USAF / Getty Images)

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As for why the unidentified individual made the unusual purchase in the first place? “He used them in his daughter’s tree house,” Edwards revealed to The Aviation Geek Club. Talk about a one-of-a-kind play structure!

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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