First B-1B Lancers resume flight operations after safety stand-down
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First B-1B Lancers resume flight operations after safety stand-down

07 May 2021 (Last Updated May 7th, 2021 16:15)

The US Air Force (USAF) has returned some B-1B Lancer bombers to flight operations after the entire fleet was grounded last month.

First B-1B Lancers resume flight operations after safety stand-down
Aircrew members with the 9th Bomb Squadron conduct pre-flight inspections in a B-1B Lancer at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Credit: USAF / Staff Sgt David Owsianka.

A safety stand-down for the bombers was issued on 20 April by Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) commander general Tim Ray.

The AFGSC oversees all of the airforce’s bomber fleets. The B-1B Lancer is one of three strategic bombers of the USAF.

The grounding order was issued as one of the B-1B bomber experienced an emergency due to a fuel leak problem on 8 April at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, US.

According to AFGSC, the precautionary safety stand-down and inspection resulted in the discovery of a discrepancy with the aircraft.

To address this discrepancy, the maintenance depot crew disassembled the Augmenter Fuel Filter Housing of the bombers and conducted a series of inspections using advanced techniques.

After being determined as defect-free, each unit was reassembled, pressure checked and returned to service.

US Air Force bomber force 8th airforce commander major general Mark Weatherington said: “We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and B-1 partners in identifying, inspecting, and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B fuel filter housing.

“The aircraft are still safe to fly and we are confident that this stand-down has resulted in increased safety within the B-1B fleet.”

In June last year, AFGSC launched a national innovation hub during a virtual event conducted at Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, Louisiana, US.