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Air Force releases cause of B-1 bomber crash in Montana
KRTV ^ | Jan. 2, 2014

Posted on 01/06/2014 11:53:36 AM PST by BulletBobCo

A displaced fold-down baffle in the left fairing of B-1B Lancer led to a fuel leak and a series of explosions prior to it crashing near Broadus, according to a report on the incident from the U.S. Air Force.

All four crew members ejected from the plane before it crashed in southeast Montana on August 19th; none of them sustained critical injuries.

The aircraft, valued at about $317.7 million, was destroyed.

There were no injuries to anyone on the ground, and damage to private property was limited to burned pasture land.

Both the aircraft and the crew were assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. When the crash occurred, the pilots were participating in a post-deployment training flight.

According to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released recently, during the flight the pilot leveled the aircraft off at about 20,000 feet. While descending to about 10,000 feet, he swept the wings from the forward to the aft position. The wings of the B-1B move from a forward position to an aft position to increase the aircraft's performance at different speeds.

During the sweep, the aircraft developed an undetectable fuel leak in the main fuel line. About 7,000 pounds of fuel leaked into the aircraft.

The fuel eventually contacted exposed portions of a hot duct, ignited, and caused an explosion that separated the left overwing fairing from the aircraft.

Ignited fuel streamed from the exposed left overwing fairing cavity, heated one of the aircraft's fuel tanks, and ignited the fuel vapors inside the tank. This detonation spread through the fuel venting system that connects the fuel tanks in the aircraft, and resulted in a cascade of detonations that caused a complete loss of power to the crew compartment, the report states.

At some time prior to pilot's initiation of the wing sweep, the left fold-down baffle became detached at one or more points, preventing it from folding as the wing swept aft, the report states. Because the baffle was detached, the wing pushed the baffle into the overwing fairing cavity where the tapered edge of the baffle cut into the main fuel line.

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TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 01/06/2014 11:53:36 AM PST by BulletBobCo
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2 posted on 01/06/2014 11:56:14 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: BulletBobCo
I remember seeing that pic.

I go through Broadus a couple of times per year.

That's a real problem.

3 posted on 01/06/2014 11:59:20 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: thackney

Amazing how they can tell what the problem was from a smoking hole with pieces smaller than a crushed beer can.


4 posted on 01/06/2014 12:00:43 PM PST by BulletBobCo
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To: BulletBobCo
The aircraft, valued at about $317.7 million, was destroyed.

Wow. What a tremendous loss. At least it wasn't a B-2. Those cost what, a cool billion?

5 posted on 01/06/2014 12:05:04 PM PST by Drew68
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To: BulletBobCo

Thank God the Crew got out safely.

So now...

How long before the cia/fbi “center fuel tank” tape is changed to add the B1 to the inspection list?


6 posted on 01/06/2014 12:05:34 PM PST by mabarker1 (Please, Somebody Impeach the kenyan!!!!)
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To: BulletBobCo
The aircraft, valued at about $317.7 million

That's an expensive hole in the ground.

7 posted on 01/06/2014 12:06:37 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi (NOPe to GOPe)
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To: BulletBobCo

I’m guessing a data recorder was recovered.


8 posted on 01/06/2014 12:08:03 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Drew68

At least it was useful before it crashed. Heck the USAF could crash another one and still not equal the utter waste of a $640 million Obamacare website!


9 posted on 01/06/2014 12:08:51 PM PST by 3boysdad (The very elect.)
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To: Drew68

The plane wasn’t really worth $317 million. That may have been the inflation adjusted original fly away price, but the real cost in losing the bomber (since all the crew thankfully survived) is that of pulling one of the 20 or 30 prematurely retired examples out of the Davis Monthan AMARG boneyard and returning it to active service as a replacement.


10 posted on 01/06/2014 12:11:38 PM PST by tanknetter (L)
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To: tanknetter

We gots one here at the AF Armament Museum................


11 posted on 01/06/2014 12:17:47 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: Paladin2

Were any sheep killed?................


12 posted on 01/06/2014 12:18:36 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: Red Badger
To tell the truth, I've never seen ANY livestock within 25 mi. of Brodus.

Antelope? A different story.

13 posted on 01/06/2014 12:21:11 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Red Badger

At Eglin? I didn’t know they had one, is it a recent addition and do you know the serial number?


14 posted on 01/06/2014 12:39:59 PM PST by tanknetter (L)
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To: tanknetter
The plane wasn’t really worth $317 million. That may have been the inflation adjusted original fly away price, but the real cost in losing the bomber (since all the crew thankfully survived) is that of pulling one of the 20 or 30 prematurely retired examples out of the Davis Monthan AMARG boneyard and returning it to active service as a replacement.

That was the price they quoted to insurance. Insurance replied that the damage would buff right out.

All kidding aside, your analysis of the price is probably spot on. They lifted it from a ledger somewhere. If you look at the aircraft as a "system" and add in all the infrastructure spent over the years, then divide by the number of airframes built (100 I believe) wou would probably even get a higher number.

The real loss is to operational requirements, which, as you said, can be filled from reserves. As they're not building them anymore, once the reserves are gone, no amount of money will replace them.

15 posted on 01/06/2014 12:40:35 PM PST by Rinnwald
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To: BulletBobCo

Post-crash reconstruction can be pretty good, with some supposition thrown in if you know how the plane works. Sequence of events leading up to the crash also help.

Interesting that the added complexities of the swing wing could be traced as a direct cause of the crash. I know F-14’s and F-111’s also had some swing wing problems, but I don’t know if they ever led to the loss of an aircraft.


16 posted on 01/06/2014 12:48:00 PM PST by Rinnwald
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To: BulletBobCo

Yes. They sure have really smart mishap investigates and engineers. I went to the USAF Systems and Safety Management (mishap investigators course). These guys have taken the art of mishap investigation and made it a real science.


17 posted on 01/06/2014 1:08:13 PM PST by Hulka
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To: Rinnwald; tanknetter

Makes sense but not how it is done.
There are costs and there are program costs.
According to the regs, cost is the cost of the airframe not the program.


18 posted on 01/06/2014 1:10:54 PM PST by Hulka
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To: BulletBobCo

The aircraft, valued at about $317.7 million, was destroyed.

***
Almost as much as Michelle Obama’s birthday getaway in Hawaii....


19 posted on 01/06/2014 1:13:24 PM PST by Bigg Red (Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.--Ps3)
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To: tanknetter

SORRY, MY BAD.
I mistook and F-111 for a B-1.............


20 posted on 01/06/2014 1:26:05 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: Paladin2

Well, the sheep aren’t nervous there...............


21 posted on 01/06/2014 1:52:14 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: Drew68

B-2 are over a billion each if you divide and add the development cost to each plane.

They are also practically irreplaceable since the tooling and production lines were scrapped.

I’m positive we have something much better now after several decades. We probably already did long before the B-2 was made public. There are classified aircraft that only fly in the desert at night still awaiting their mission.


22 posted on 01/06/2014 3:44:05 PM PST by varyouga
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To: Red Badger

No but one wayward muzzie was killed trying to flee the area. At least that is what his girl friend bleated.


23 posted on 01/06/2014 3:51:41 PM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: BulletBobCo

That’s a change, they didn’t blame it on the pilot.


24 posted on 01/06/2014 3:54:52 PM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: BulletBobCo
"...and ignited the fuel vapors inside the tank.

There are a great many Freepers who have made a career of denying that type of explosion could ever happen.

25 posted on 01/06/2014 4:46:33 PM PST by SunTzuWu
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To: BulletBobCo

How many are left now?


26 posted on 01/07/2014 1:29:23 AM PST by clearcarbon
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