Article Describing B1 Crash – CBS News – Aug 19, 2013:
A B-1 bomber crashed this morning in a remote area of southeast Montana, but the crew of four escaped with minor injuries.
According a spokesperson with Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City the crash happened Monday morning near Broadus. Two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board, a base spokesman told CBS station MTN in Missoula, Montana. All four of the crew members ejected from the plane survived the crash.
Few other details are available at this hour. Ellsworth AFB is the home of the 28th Bomb Wing. They maintain and fly 28 B-1 bombers and are home to two of the Air Forces’s three B-1 combat squadrons.
“We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site,” said Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families.”
There are roughly 60 B-1’s remaining in the U.S. Air Force fleet.
Residents of Ekalaka, tell MTN that the emergency sirens in that town were activated between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to alert the volunteer fire department of that crash.
The Carter County Sheriff’s Office has also confirmed that it is responding to the crash as well.
The Following Story Was Written by the 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office Regarding the Removal of the Commander:
Malmstrom group commander relieved of command
Posted 8/25/2013 Updated 8/25/2013
by 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
8/25/2013 – MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. — The 341st Security Forces Group commander was relieved of command Aug. 22.
341st Missile Wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, relieved Col. David Lynch from command of the 341st SFG due to a loss of confidence in Lynch’s ability to lead his group.
The SFG has four security forces squadrons and more than 1,200 personnel. It is responsible for providing security and force protection for the 341 MW, including its main base, 15 launch control centers and 150 intercontinental ballistic missile silos across 13,800 square miles in central Montana.
Lynch’s removal is not a result of the recent Nuclear Surety Inspection failure. However, as the 341 MW prepares for a re-inspection, Stanley must have full confidence in the leadership ability of his commanders.
The 341st MW received an “Unsatisfactory” rating during a NSI this month; however the wing continues to remain certified to perform its mission. During a portion of an exercise in one of 13 major graded areas unrelated to the command and control of nuclear weapons, a team did not demonstrate the right procedures. As a result, the inspector general failed them on that exercise, which resulted in the overall “Unsatisfactory” rating.
Col. John Wilcox, Air Force Global Strike Command Security Forces Division director, will serve as the interim commander until a replacement is identified.
(Editor’s Note: 341 MW/PA updated this article for clarification.)
Note: Rumors had surfaced a few weeks after the above crash that the Malmstrom AFB commander (341st Missile Wing) was relieved of duty because a UFO was seen on radar and brought down the B1. The rumor stated that the commander was relieved of command because he did not scramble F15 fighters to intercept the UFO. This rumor has never been substantiated. The above article written by the Public Affairs Office of the 341st Missile Wing discusses the removal of the commander, but does not list a reason. The commander was removed a few days after the “B1 Incident.” At this time it is still not known what caused the crash of the B1. The Air Force is still investigating the incident. The bomber was likely participating in military exercises in the Military Operations Area (MOA) located in Southeastern Montana.
The radar chart above doesn’t show any UFOs in the area when the aircraft was losing altitude. One radar return was detected at around 15,000 feet in the same location where the aircraft went down. However, only one return showed up. This return could have been a radar “angel” or weather related and not a real object. Multiple detects are necessary to confirm that the radar is tracking a real object. The B1 first appeared on radar at 8:52 AM (Mountain Time) and was taking off from Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) near Rapid City, SD. The aircraft was lost from radar at 9:11 AM. In the last 5 seconds of radar data the aircraft descended 500 feet.
UFOs Northwest thanks the U.S. Air Force for releasing the radar data associated with this incident.
Update – Jan 7, 2014. Air Force Investigation Reveals Cause of B1 Crash:
Air Force releases cause of B-1 bomber crash in Montana
A displaced fold-down baffle in the left fairing of B-1B Lancer led to a fuel leak and a series of explosions prior to it crashing near Broadus, according to a report on the incident from the U.S. Air Force.
All four crew members ejected from the plane before it crashed in southeast Montana on August 19th; none of them sustained critical injuries.
The aircraft, valued at about $317.7 million, was destroyed.
There were no injuries to anyone on the ground, and damage to private property was limited to burned pasture land.
Both the aircraft and the crew were assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. When the crash occurred, the pilots were participating in a post-deployment training flight.
According to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released recently, during the flight the pilot leveled the aircraft off at about 20,000 feet. While descending to about 10,000 feet, he swept the wings from the forward to the aft position. The wings of the B-1B move from a forward position to an aft position to increase the aircraft’s performance at different speeds.
During the sweep, the aircraft developed an undetectable fuel leak in the main fuel line. About 7,000 pounds of fuel leaked into the aircraft.
The fuel eventually contacted exposed portions of a hot duct, ignited, and caused an explosion that separated the left overwing fairing from the aircraft.
Ignited fuel streamed from the exposed left overwing fairing cavity, heated one of the aircraft’s fuel tanks, and ignited the fuel vapors inside the tank. This detonation spread through the fuel venting system that connects the fuel tanks in the aircraft, and resulted in a cascade of detonations that caused a complete loss of power to the crew compartment, the report states.
At some time prior to pilot’s initiation of the wing sweep, the left fold-down baffle became detached at one or more points, preventing it from folding as the wing swept aft, the report states. Because the baffle was detached, the wing pushed the baffle into the overwing fairing cavity where the tapered edge of the baffle cut into the main fuel line.