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That Fiery B-1B Lancer Landing In Texas Was Reportedly A Commander’s Worst Nightmare
The emergency landing of a B-1B Lancer bomber at Midland International Air Space Port in Midland County, Texas on May 1st reportedly involved heroic action on the part of the crew to save both the aircraft and a potentially stranded crewmember following a serious ejector seat malfunction.
The incident sparked attention after photos captured by eyewitnesses and local media circulated showing melted engine nozzles and a blown escape hatch. In the weeks since the incident, the Air Force has been short with details, telling Task & Purpose only that the B-1B was able to land safely after the crew “experienced an in-flight emergency.”
“The port’s emergency responders responded to the aircraft upon landing,” the 7th Bomb Wing Headquarters told Task & Purpose in a statement without further elaboration on how the four-man Lancer aircrew responded to the in-flight incident. “There were no munitions on the aircraft.”
But on May 21, the well-sourced Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page posted several new details passed along by airmen ostensibly stationed at Dyess that potentially shed new light on what exactly happened aboard the crippled airframe:
Yes, we know it’s the word of a single Facebook group over the word of the Air Force, but here’s what information Air Force amn/nco/snco has managed to surface from chow halls across the country:
- The initial problem: The “in-flight emergency” mentioned by the Pentagon was reportedly an engine fire, according to unidentified Air Force personnel who shared accounts with Air Force amn/nco/snco; while the extinguisher systems were activated to put out the blaze, the fire indicator light did not go off after their use, which may have indicated a failure to extinguish the fire. If this reading is accurate, the extinguisher failure could have led to an uncontrolled and catastrophic fire that could have potentially resulted in the complete loss of the aircraft in a rapid period of time.
- The ejection: While the Air Force did not immediately comment to on the ejector seat malfunction, the B-1B’s offensive system operator reportedly attempted to eject from the aircraft until he discovered his ACES II ejection system had malfunctioned, preventing his escape. The mission commander elected to attempt to land the aircraft instead of abandoning it with the stranded crewmember still on-board.
- The landing: The B-1B made its emergency landing at Midland International Air and Space Port with minimal incident. The image posted to the Air Force amn/nco/snco page shows extensive fire damage to the right side engines, as well as the open ejection port. Luckily, no one in the crew or on the ground was reported injured, according to the Air Force.
- The airframe: The B-1 airframe experienced multiple ejection seat issues early in its service life. During the B-1’s development in 1984, the prototype suffered a crash which resulted in the death of the test pilot, Doug Benefield, and serious injuries to two other crew members after the ejection capsule failed; another ejection failure caused the death of a crewmember in September 1987. B-1B’s ejection system has performed without major issue in the 30 years since until this incident.
While the Air Force said in its press release that incident was still under investigation, and also noted that the safety investigation board findings are “are protected by the military safety privilege and are not subject to release.” Unfortunately, this means it may be some time before the details discussed in Air Force amn/nco/snco are officially corroborated.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Crawford, 7th Mission Support Group deputy commander, briefs members from Secretary of the Air Force installations, environment and energy visited Dyess to learn about the base's mission and the B-1B Lancer's capabilities, Nov. 2, 2016, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Austin Mayfield
But if the information shared with Air Force amn/nco/snco is indeed accurate, the mission commander on this ill-fated B-1B sortie likely faced the mortifying choice of saving the remaining two crewmembers and their own life by ejecting or risking all of their lives to land the crippled aircraft. Had the fire spread it could easily have resulted in a flashpoint situation which would have destroyed the entire aircraft in short order.
By landing the crippled B-1B intact the anonymous instructor pilot and co-pilot saved a $300 million dollar national asset and, more importantly, the lives of their fellow crew members. That is, quite literally, courage under fire.
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The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.
These CIA officers were the first US boots on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11 — and one was 'Marine Todd'
Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."