The 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, where the B-1 is stationed, said in a Friday release that the bomber will undergo depot maintenance and upgrades at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. The bomber will then be quality tested by the 10th Flight Test Squadron before it returns to Dyess and rejoins the fleet of B-1s there.
The B-1 was forced to land at Midland International Air and Space Port on May 1 after an emergency during a routine training flight. Dyess said that fires broke out in three areas of the aircraft, all but one of which the crew was able to extinguish.
One crew sat 25 minutes on an armed ejection seat as pilots worked to land the stricken aircraft.
With the last fire still burning, the B-1′s commander ordered the crew to eject. But when the first member of the aircrew tried to bail out, the hatch blew but the seat malfunctioned and didn’t eject. The commander called off the ejection attempt and safely landed the B-1, through blaring alarms, depressurization and wind noise. It was the first time a B-1B had ever landed while experiencing those malfunctions, and the four crew members were all awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in July.
The bomber remained at the Midland airport while a safety investigation board was conducted, and was repaired to get it into a safely operable condition, Dyess said. A crew from the 10th flew the bomber to Tinker today.
A1C River Bruce, a spokesman for the 7th, said the B-1′s maintenance and upgrades will be extensive and will take some time, and that there isn’t an estimate yet on when it will return to Dyess.
The Air Force temporarily grounded its B-1 fleet in June over concerns that the ejection seat malfunction — caused by a crimped part that prevented the signal flowing to the ejection seat — might be a widespread problem, but resumed flying after it was determined there was another way to fire the seat. The Air Force also replaced the malfunctioning part of the seat on all B-1s.