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The US Air Force (USAF) has resumed flight operations of the first B-1B Lancers after a four-week safety stand-down.

The B-1B aircraft have been cleared to return to flight following the completion of inspections and maintenance on each aircraft.

On 28 March, Air Force Global Strike Command commander general Timothy Ray issued a precautionary safety stand-down after issues were identified with the rigging of the aircraft’s drogue chute during a routine inspection.

The drogue chute is part of the system that allows an airman to safely eject from the bomber in case of an emergency.

The USAF ordered a holistic inspection of the entire egress system in light of the issue.

“The B-1B Lancers were previously grounded after the service identified problems related to the seat ejection system in May last year.”

Maintenance personnel and aircrew flight equipment technicians implemented the order and carried out an inspection of the system before clearing the B-1B aircraft for operations.

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8th Air Force commander major general James Dawkins said: “We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and aircrew flight equipment technicians in identifying, inspecting, and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B egress system

“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.”

The B-1B Lancers were previously grounded after the service identified problems related to the seat ejection system in May last year.

Built by Boeing, the B-1B is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber. The aircraft has been in service with the USAF since 1985. The service has a total of 62 aircraft of this type.

The company hopes to keep the bombers in service up to 2040 and beyond.