US Air Force grounds entire B -1 bomber fleet over ejection seat hitch

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The US Air Force has grounded the entire fleet of its B-1B bomber aircraft over safety concerns related to the warplane’s ejection seats.

The precautionary measure was adopted as “a direct result” of an emergency landing a B-1 bomber made on May 1 at Midland Airport in the southern state of Texas, US-based Military.com reported Saturday, citing Air Force officials.

“During the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1B in Midland, an issue with ejection seat components was discovered that necessitated the stand-down,” the report added, quoting a statement released Friday by US Air Force Global Strike officials.

“As these issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight,” the command noted in the statement, pointing out that a Safety Investigation Board is underway.

Also last month, another US Air Force T-38C Talon II jet crashed during a training flight over a remote area of northeastern Mississippi near Columbus Air Force Base.

USAF pilots selected to fly fighter jets and bomber aircraft on war fronts train on the T-38C, an updated version of the jet that has been in service since 1961.

The crash was at least the second mishap involving a T-38C over the past 12 months. The other crash last November ended up killing the instructor pilot after his Talon went down in Del Rio, Texas. The other airman was injured but survived.

The crash in May came only two days after the deadline for the USAF to carry out a review of the safety measures it has employed in order to identify factors contributing to an increase in military aerial mishaps in fiscal year 2018, which began in October.

At least seven Air Force aircraft have crashed over this period. Four of the crashes have been fatal, killing 18 airmen.

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