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A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Bomb Squadron takes off from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 8, 2018.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Bomb Squadron takes off from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 8, 2018. (River Bruce/U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force grounded all B-1B Lancer heavy bombers as of Thursday to conduct a fleet-wide safety investigation in the wake of an emergency landing by a Lancer last month.

The Air Force Global Strike Command announced the stand-down of the aircraft on Friday.

On May 1, a B-1B Lancer made an emergency landing following engine failure at Midland International Air and Space Port between Midland and Odessa, Texas.

Midland International Air and Space Port is about 150 miles from Dyess Air Force Base, where the aircraft was based.

The four crew members aboard the bomber were not injured. The aircraft was not carrying munitions.

The stand-down was deemed necessary after safety investigators found problems with ejection seat components, the Air Force said.

“As issues are resolved aircraft will return to flight,” the Air Force said.

The Safety Investigation Board is continuing its probe of the emergency landing for the purpose of preventing future mishaps or losses, the Air Force said.

The Air Force operates about 60 B-1B Lancers.

The four-engine B-1B Lancer is a supersonic heavy strategic bomber that was first added to the fleet in 1974. Operated by the Air Force Global Strike Command, they have been used extensively in the Global War on Terror.

Olson.wyatt@stripes.com Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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Wyatt Olson is based in the Honolulu bureau, where he has reported on military and security issues in the Indo-Pacific since 2014. He was Stars and Stripes’ roving Pacific reporter from 2011-2013 while based in Tokyo. He was a freelance writer and journalism teacher in China from 2006-2009.

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