The Air Force’s first B-1B Lancer bombers started flying again this week following a stand-down in March related to safety issues, the service’s Global Strike Command said April 23.
Individual aircraft will return to flight as they complete inspections and maintenance directions, the command said in a Tuesday press release.
Air Force Global Strike Command Commander Gen. Timothy Ray ordered a safety stand-down of the B-1B Lancer fleet March 28, citing issues with the rigging of the drogue chute that were identified during a routine inspection.
During the safety stand-down, maintenance personnel and aircrew flight equipment technicians began completing “a holistic inspection of the entire egress system prior to being cleared to return to flight,” the release said.
“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,” said Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force commander, in the release. “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.”
Ray told reporters last week in Washington, D.C., he ordered the precautionary safety inspections because “I didn’t like what I saw” with the incorrectly installed drogue shoot.
He emphasized that while a safety stand-down could affect readiness, the personal safety of airmen “is more important.”
The March 28 stand-down marked the second time the Air Force-s B-1 fleet has been grounded within one year. It was also grounded in June 2018 due to an ejection seat issue.