We may never know why a part failed mid-flight, causing a B-1 Bomber to crash in Montana August 2013, but we do know that maintenance crews didn't see anything wrong with the jet before flight.
Col. Brooks McFarland, Commander, 28th Maintenance Group, of Ellsworth Air Force Base says there are 1,400 maintenance crew members who inspect the B-1 before and after flight.
"That's an initial look we're they're going to check for leaks," said Col. McFarland. "They're going to check for anything that looks out of place, any kind of damage to any equipment or parts or missing components or hardware."
Although pre-flight inspections take six hours, Col. McFarland says the majority of the inspections happen in layers throughout the planes career, and are on scheduling basis rather than when something needs to get fixed.
"We're not waiting for the last minute to have anything done," said Col. McFarland. "Something fails if it fails in flight or if it fails during a ground check than it's a remove and replace type of repair."
The B-1 that did crash in Montana was almost due for a 60-month Depot Maintenance check, but crew members say they most likely would not have found anything wrong with the baffle fold at that time.
For an in-depth look at the crash report, visit mytown.kotatv.com and search "bomber crash."