Saturday, September 6, 2008

B-1B Bad Brakes Costs Big Bucks!

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer Air Force Times
Posted : Friday Sep 5, 2008 11:53:19 EDT

A broken parking brake caused the multi-million dollar flight line accident that damaged a B-1B Lancer and two fire trucks at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in March, according to Air Force investigation.

And two separate crash landings in May were caused by pilot errors, investigations decided.

On March 7, a B-1B assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, made an emergency landing at Andersen after the bomber’s Number 3 hydraulic system malfunctioned, the accident investigation board said in a report issued Sept. 3.

After the jet came to a stop on a taxiway with the parking brake on, Andersen’s emergency response team spotted a large hydraulic leak on the plane’s right side. To prevent a fire, the aircrew shut down the jet’s four engines. That’s what caused the emergency brake system to lose pressure, investigators concluded.

Twenty seconds later, the plane began to roll forward. First, the jet’s nose struck a fire truck. Then, the left wing hit a second truck, wedging the truck under the wing and stopping the jet.

A pilot onboard the B-1B as the jet started rolling tried to stop the plane using emergency brakes, but those failed, too.

The repair bill for the bomber and fire trucks totaled $5.8 million.

The investigators didn’t fault the aircrew, but said the accident could have been prevented if emergency crews had chocked the jet’s front wheels.

Two other accident investigation reports also came out Sept. 3.

* The May 21 hard landing of T-1A Jayhawk training jet near the Lubbock, Texas, airport resulted from severe windshear and several mistakes by the aircrew, the investigation found. The two pilots, instructor Capt. Justin M. Gray and student Capt. Brady S. McConnell, both of the 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, weren’t injured when the jet landed in plowed farm field a mile short of the Lubbock runway.

The crew was practicing a landing approach in gusting winds when windshear pushed the plane downward, the report said. The crew struggled to get the jet climbing, but the plane did not respond in time.

The report concluded the crew made multiple errors, including ignoring weather warnings, poor mission planning, complacency and lack of procedural knowledge.

Damage to the two-engine jet was set at $3.7 million.

* An E-9A Widget landed wheels-up in Florida on May 1 because the two pilots forgot to lower the plane’s landing gear, an accident investigation board decided.

The E-9A is an Air Force version of the twin-propeller driven Bombardier Dash 8. The service’s two E-9As, part of the 53rd Wing, fly out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to monitor the test range over the Gulf of Mexico.

On May 1 instructor pilot Capt. Justin T. Allen was flying with a civilian student pilot, Joseph C. Cannizzo, and practicing landings at Tallahassee Regional Airport. As the crew flew a mock emergency landing, the pilots did not lower the landing gear. The plane hit the runway belly first and skidded 2,200 feet. Neither pilot suffered injuries.

The plane’s repair bill totaled $1.4 million

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