Jump to content

B-1 Landing at Midland


b52gator

Recommended Posts

Surprised this didn't make it to the forums.  

 

This happened on May 1 and initial reports were vague

https://www.reporternews.com/story/news/local/2018/05/01/abilene-based-b-1-bomber-makes-emergency-landing-midland/570523002/

 

Yesterday however Task and Purpose had this pretty interesting article.  

https://taskandpurpose.com/b-1b-lancer-emergency-landing/

 

Granted this is hearsay and rumor at this point, but damn, if this is true helluva job by that crew

Breaking News: Hero B-1 Instructor Pilot and crew land B-1B after in flight emergency (IFE). On May 1st, 2018 a two ship out of Dyess Air Force Basedealt with a situation that no pilot wants to ever encounter. The incident involved a Rockwell B-1B Lancer 86-0109/DY named "Spectre", which was built back in 1986. During flight they encountered an over wing fairing (OWF) fire indication on fire warning panel climbing out of low level, followed by #3 engine fire indications. Crew then executed checklist for both, including fire bottles, but OWF light did not go out. The aircraft commander then called for manual ejection. Auto means that if anyone in the front station punches everyone goes regardless if seat is safed or pinned. Manual means that an individual physically has to pull their handle. The offensive system officer (OSO) was the first to pull, that’s why the missing hatch seat retracted and the hatch departed. When the seat did not go up the rails the crew were left with two options at that point. Continue manual ejection for the other crew which means the OSO would ride the jet into the dirt or take the jet as far as they could while maintaining aircraft control and try to save the OSO, which is why the crew elected to land at Midland Airport. That type of Emergency Procedure (EP) has never been successfully recovered in the B-1. 

The IFE occurred towards the end of the sortie coming off Instrument Route 178 which is a level route along the Texas and Mexico border. After the failed ejection, there was approximately 15 or more minutes of flight before landing. It is assumed the crew had helmets with masks attached for oxygen. The hatch that blew off has yet to be recovered. The photo of the B-1 in the hangar shows burn marks in the OWF, which appears to be caused by the fire that that crew observed in flight. Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) was on scene after the landing due to the seat shielded mild detonation cords (SMDC). There is no guidance for failed ejection in the Technical Orders (TO). The OSO would have died for sure and there was potential to loose the entire crew racing to Midland trying to save the OSO. Instead the crew made the choice to stay with the OSO and luckily the IP stayed calm and acted to save the life of the crew and B-1B. For that, we believe the IP and crew should all be recognized for their heroic actions that day, which brought credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.

Edited by b52gator
  • Like 20
  • Thanks 2
  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well done to the crew for not leaving anyone behind.  That being said , seat failed to fire ?!  Not sure how much confidence Id have stepping to jets with that issue.  Are the bones currently flying or figure out why this happened ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asked a buddy of mine and they were back flying like a week later. He wouldn't go into the details of whatever made them feel the malfunction was addressed, but I understand that's his prerogative.

 

Considering the fatality we had in the 38 last Thanksgiving, I'm surprised the bone community took to getting back on the saddle so quickly after a confirmed misfire of a seat. Way too rich for my blood. The community must know the details already, that we're not privy to. Lord knows we raised a stink down here regarding the lack of transparency in the safety process relating to the integrity of the egress system, which led to some people even falling on their swords and being sacked out of jobs by a scorned leadership. Second time in my AF career I was wholly unimpressed with our so-called safety process. Bunch of political CYA hackery. I digress.

 

At least in the Buff we still had the ol school bomb bay manual bailout if all else failed lol. Mostly placebo in all likelihood, but whatever gets ya through the day kinda thing. Ya can't do that when the chute is in the seat though, as in the bone's case.

As an AC I agree, no way I'm getting out of a controllable airplane if one of my guys is trapped. I don't see that decision difficult in the least. They're certainly lucky though, my understanding is if that thing actually gets to the other hydro, it becomes an uncontrollable event and it's game over for the guy with the bad seat. I used to brief the 4 engine on one side drill at low altitude on the buff, turn the whale on its dying back and give the first floor guys a chance to get out. No guarantees in life. Tough business we're in indeed.  

Whether the decision to sequence manual in this accident was purposeful or a lucky happenstance matters not, these guys are getting hardware out of this one guaranteed. Bravo Zulu.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back when I flew the Bone, we always briefed that we’d do a manual ejection if we could maintain aircraft control during the sequence, and extend the time between ejections to make sure seats didn’t hit each other. Glad everything worked out for the crew.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, hindsight2020 said:

At least in the Buff we still had the ol school bomb bay manual bailout if all else failed lol. Mostly placebo in all likelihood, but whatever gets ya through the day kinda thing. Ya can't do that when the chute is in the seat though, as in the bone's case. 

 

The B-1 used to have a spare parachute that (theoretically) would allow you jump out of the crew entry hatch, in situations just like this. But they removed that parachute during sequestration because they said it was too expensive to maintain.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a great story of no shit heroism by some professional aviators. 

Just out of curiosity, have any Stan Eval dweebs gotten their panties in a wad about not following the checklist and punching the other guys out?

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Because, grounding the entire fleet after the WC-130 crash would have just poured gasoline on the fire AF leadership is trying to ignore. Wait a month and things die down a little bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part of the story that hasn’t been addressed yet is, after landing, and after shutdown, some poor bastard had to unstrap from, AND dismount a seat, that MIGHT still be about to go.  

“Nope, I’m good, I’m gonna just sit here, head back, elbows in, visor down until sometime next week. At least it will stay cool now that it’s a convertible.”

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The part of the story that hasn’t been addressed yet is, after landing, and after shutdown, some poor bastard had to unstrap from, AND dismount a seat, that MIGHT still be about to go.  
“Nope, I’m good, I’m gonna just sit here, head back, elbows in, visor down until sometime next week. At least it will stay cool now that it’s a convertible.”

Couldn’t they re-pin it?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raising the handles “lights the fuse” more or less. Putting the pins back doesn’t prevent anything. Odds are if it didn’t go, it probably won’t...maybe. Do you feel lucky?

Military firefighters know what to cut to safe the seat, but I doubt the folks at Midland had that info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, SuperWSO said:

Raising the handles “lights the fuse” more or less. Putting the pins back doesn’t prevent anything. Odds are if it didn’t go, it probably won’t...maybe. Do you feel lucky?

Military firefighters know what to cut to safe the seat, but I doubt the folks at Midland had that info.

Yep. When in doubt cut the catapult hose. The Fire Dept/EOD folks have the proper tool for cutting this hose and the EOD guys know where to cut it (done this a few times myself way back when). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, SuperWSO said:

The part of the story that hasn’t been addressed yet is, after landing, and after shutdown, some poor bastard had to unstrap from, AND dismount a seat, that MIGHT still be about to go.  

“Nope, I’m good, I’m gonna just sit here, head back, elbows in, visor down until sometime next week. At least it will stay cool now that it’s a convertible.”

Sheeeeeeit.  Been awhile since I was in a B-1, no space for the OSO to sit somewhere else?  I understand it was an IFE at the time, but man, not knowing if that thing was gonna fire or not.  I'd rather take my chances climbing out of a hole made by another seat.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, b52gator said:

Sheeeeeeit.  Been awhile since I was in a B-1, no space for the OSO to sit somewhere else?  I understand it was an IFE at the time, but man, not knowing if that thing was gonna fire or not.  I'd rather take my chances climbing out of a hole made by another seat.  

????? The only way that guy was making it out was a safe landing and ground egress or a sudden restart of the ejection sequence. It’s  also possible the auto sequence mode might have worked as advertised and punched him normally. Get out of the seat and now he’s down to only one way to survive. 

I’d stay in the seat, ready to take a ride in it until the jet was down. If at some point the seat fires, it’s a 0/0 seat he was fully planning to use just minutes prior anyway. If the situation goes south rapidly at some later point during the approach, at least i’d have a glimmer of hope I’d go along with everyone else using the auto sequence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, b52gator said:

Sheeeeeeit.  Been awhile since I was in a B-1, no space for the OSO to sit somewhere else?  I understand it was an IFE at the time, but man, not knowing if that thing was gonna fire or not.  I'd rather take my chances climbing out of a hole made by another seat.  

Well, you're climbing out that hole with no parachute. We removed the spare chute several years ago, ironically because the seats were so reliable.

Edit to add: in the moment, you might hope for the auto sequence to work, given your lack of other options. But the seat is constructed such that it will not fire if the hatch is gone. Supposed to be a safety measure to prevent it from firing if there's a MX dude doing work that requires the hatch to be open.

Edited by pawnman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, you're climbing out that hole with no parachute. We removed the spare chute several years ago, ironically because the seats were so reliable.
Edit to add: in the moment, you might hope for the auto sequence to work, given your lack of other options. But the seat is constructed such that it will not fire if the hatch is gone. Supposed to be a safety measure to prevent it from firing if there's a MX dude doing work that requires the hatch to be open.


Wow, removed the chute. Did they remove the axe because in the event more than one seat failed it was first person to the axe won?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...