“What we’ve learned from the investigation is there are actually two pathways to fire the seat and there was one particular part that had gotten crimped, so that when he pulled the handles the signal to the ejection seat didn’t flow,” Goldfein explained.
The part likely deformed over time, and that is a common issue with older aircraft that have components that are not easily replaced anymore, Goldfein said. Eventually, the Air Force determined another way to fire the B-1’s ejection seats in sequenced intervals, so that the crew does not all bail out at the same time.
“There’s actually a secondary pathway that allows them to initiate ejection,” Goldfein said. “So when we went through that process, that’s why we allowed them [B-1 bombers] to get back in the air and continue flying. Now we’re going through the technical change orders to make sure that we’re changing all those parts to make sure they’re full up.”
“What essentially happened was one of the crew members when they pulled the [ejection] handles to go, it didn’t function,” Goldfein explained on Tuesday. “Within a few seconds, the aircraft commander made a decision to stop the ejection sequence. Now, they actually were on fire and that’s never a good thing – to have a fire in an aircraft full of fuel.”
The four airmen aboard the bomber were recently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroically landing the B-1B at Midland, Texas, while the plane was on fire. The Air Force temporarily grounded all B-1 bombers after the May 1 incident.
It's worth noting that Goldfein ejected from an F-16 when he was shot down over Serbia in May 1999, and his experience apparently gave him an appreciation of the severity of the emergency the bomber’s aircrew found themselves in.
“That young man was sitting on a live ejection seat,” Goldfein said. “Having ridden one out of an airplane, I’m here to tell you: You’ve got to think about what was in that crew’s mind – never knowing if a gust or something was going to fire them out of the aircraft. They made this decision to all stay together.”
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.
When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.
J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.
"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.
"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."
In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."