Air Force B-1 bomber fleet grounded due to ejection seats

Two B-1Bs, deployed to Al Udeid AB from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., employed 19 Joint Air to Surface...
Two B-1Bs, deployed to Al Udeid AB from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., employed 19 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), marking the first combat employment of the weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck) (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 8, 2018 at 9:32 AM MDT
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The Air Force is “standing down” its B-1 bomber fleet after a Dyess Air Force Base Lancer had an undisclosed “in-flight emergency,” forcing it to land at the Midland, Texas airport instead of its base.

Following the May 1 emergency landing, a safety investigation board found an issue with the bomber’s ejection seats, prompting the military to ground the entire fleet for inspections, according to Maj. Anastasia Schmidt, a public affairs officer with Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, La.

“During the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1B in Midland, Texas, an issue with ejection seat components was discovered that necessitated the stand-down. As these issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight,” an Air Force release stated.

“The 28th Bomb Wing is working closely and regularly with experts across the Air Force on this issue,” said Col. John Edwards, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “The safety of our aircrew is paramount as we resolve this issue.”

The stand-down is a precautionary measure to keep the crews safe while safety investigation board looks into the issue to ensure it doesn’t happen again. There is no word as to when the inspections will be completed.

We will update this story when new information is available.