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Ellsworth B-1 bombers return to the skies

 A B-1 Lancer bomber on the Ellsworth AFB flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo)
A B-1 Lancer bomber on the Ellsworth AFB flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo) (KOTA)
Published: Jun. 19, 2018 at 10:03 AM CDT
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The Air Force’s B-1 fleet, including Ellsworth Air Force Base’s two squadrons of bombers, will be back in the air this week following a stand down to due problems with components in the plane's egress system.

The bombers were grounded June 7 so the Air Force could replace egress components in the fleet. That process is almost complete.

“We have high confidence that the fleet’s egress systems are capable and the fleet is ready to return to normal flight operations,” Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, 8th Air Force Commander, said in a release.

The Air Force did not release what the specific issue is with the components; stating that the safety investigation is ongoing.

The faulty components were discovered after a May 7

. The bomber was forced to land at the Midland, Texas, airport instead of its base.

A photo published in the Midland Reporter-Telegram shows that an emergency egress hatch is missing on the plane.