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B-1B bombers flying after safety concern cleared

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber in the air over Qatar during Joint Air Defense Exercise 19-01, Feb. 19, 2019.

CLAYTON CUPIT/U.S. AIR FORCE

By RAPID CITY (S.D.) JOURNAL Published: April 25, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Tribune News Service) — The Air Force's B-1B Lancer fleet is flying again after a potential safety concern that popped up last month was cleared.

The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command ordered a safety stand-down on March 28 after a potential problem with the ejection seat was found during an inspection.

That was the second time in 12 months that the bombers have been grounded over an issue with the ejection seat.

“We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and Aircrew Flight Equipment technicians in identifying, inspecting, and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B egress system,” Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force commander, who is responsible for the Air Force bomber force, said in a press release Wednesday. “The aircraft are still safe to fly and we are confident that this stand-down has resulted in increased safety within the B-1B fleet.”

According to an earlier release from Global Strike Command, an inspection crew found a potential problem with the drogue chute system, which corrects the seat’s angle to allow an airman to safely depart the bomber.

“During a routine inspection of the B-1B drogue chute system, potentially fleet-wide issues were identified with the rigging of the drogue chute,” the Air Force said.

In March, Ellsworth Air Force Base was named the first home of the new B-21 bomber. That airplane will eventually replace the B1-B Lancer.

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