Accident report gives no clue to cause of B-1 bomber crash in MT - KOTA Territory News

Accident report gives no clue to cause of B-1 bomber crash in Montana

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7,000 pounds of fuel poured out of this V-shape hole in the bomber’s main fuel line. (Air Force photo) 7,000 pounds of fuel poured out of this V-shape hole in the bomber’s main fuel line. (Air Force photo)

by Jack Siebold, MyTown Editor

The B-1 that crashed in Montana Aug. 19 was due for a 60-month depot maintenance stint but was still considered to be in good condition when it took off from Ellsworth AFB that morning.

Furthermore, according to the Air Force aircraft accident investigation board report, we probably will never know the reason why a part failed, dooming the $318 million bomber.

What we do know, are the specific events that led up to the crash.  Just 20 minutes into their training mission and seconds after the bomber was racked by several explosions, the crew had to eject.  The bomber fuselage then split into two, scattering debris over a 17-mile area of pastureland.

The crew didn't bail after the first explosion.  They spent almost two minutes trying to save the aircraft until there were a series of catastrophic explosions in four fuel tanks.

The crew – Maj Frank Biancardi II, instructor pilot; Capt. Curtis Michael, instructor pilot; Capt. Chad Nishizuka, instructor weapon systems officer; and Capt. Brandon Packard, instructor weapon systems officer — all landed within 2,000 feet of each other, about three miles from the main impact site of the bomber.  Fortunately they landed relatively close since one of the four crew personal locator beacons wasn't working due to a dead battery.

Read more on the accident report at MyTown

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