The U.S. Air Force on Thursday grounded its B-1B Lancer bomber fleet, for the second time within a year, after discovering a parachute rigging problem.
“The Air Force Global Strike Command commander ordered a safety stand-down of the B-1B Lancer fleet March 28,” according to a U.S. Air Force report.
During a routine inspection of the B-1B drogue chute system, potentially fleet-wide issues were identified with the rigging of the drogue chute. It appears to be a procedural issue and is unrelated to the previous problem with egress system components.
In June 2018, the command grounded the B-1 fleet after discovering issues with ejection seat components in the aftermath of a May 1 emergency landing of a B-1 assigned to Dyess AFB, Texas.
Later, the Stars and Stripes reported that the Air Force on grounded its fleet of B-1Bs to inspect the conventional bombers’ ejection systems after discovering a parachute rigging problem during a routine inspection.
Air Force technicians will inspect all 62 of the service’s B-1B aircraft during the stand down, said Air Force Capt. Earon Brown, a spokesman for Air Force Global Strike Command. The jets will be returned to flying status on a rolling basis as they are inspected and any issues are resolved, he said.
The safety stand-down will afford maintenance and Aircrew Flight Equipment technicians the necessary time to thoroughly inspect each aircraft. As these inspections are completed and any issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight.
“The safety of Airmen is the command’s top priority and this precautionary step will enable the command to correct any potential issues,” said in a statement.