B-1B bombers grounded

Air Force Global Strike Command ordered a safety stand-down of its B-1B Lancer bombers on June 7, 2018, because of a problem with the jets’ ejection seats. The order came after a safety investigation board looking into the emergency landing of 7th Bomb Wing B-1B 86-0109 at Midland International Air and Space Port, Texas on May 1, 2018, raised concerns about the seats. Images taken after the incident showed the crew of four sitting on the ground underneath their stricken jet and a telling open hatch atop the forward fuselage above the offensive systems operator’s seat on the starboard side where the escape hatch had been blown clear of the aircraft. Following the initiation of the ejection sequence, the hatch is blown clear and then the ACES II ejection seat automatically activates. It is apparent from the images that, while the hatch was jettisoned, the seat did not fire. The investigation continues, and the Air Force says the jets will not return to flight status until a fix has been found.