The first B-1B Lancers resumed flight operations May 3 following a safety stand-down issued April 20 by Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander. Individual B-1B aircraft will return to flight as inspections and maintenance directed during the stand-down are completed on each aircraft.
During the stand-down, maintenance depot personnel disassembled the Augmenter Fuel Filter Housing and performed a series of inspections. After each unit was determined to be free of defects, it was reassembled, pressure checked and returned to service.
“We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and B-1 partners in identifying, inspecting, and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B fuel filter housing,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Eighth Air Force commander, who is responsible for the Air Force bomber force. “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.”
The entire maintenance, depot, engineering and acquisition team must be commended for getting the B-1B bombers back into the hands of warfighters in a very short time, according to AFGSC officials. Although this was an Air Force enterprise-wide effort, special thanks must go to the maintainers at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dyess AFB, Texas and the AFGSC staff, as well as Air Force Sustainment Center’s depot team, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center‘s B-1 Program Office and Propulsion Directorate, the Air Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force office of Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics on their efforts.
The precautionary safety stand-down and holistic inspection of the Augmenter Fuel Filter Housing on each aircraft was ordered after an April 8 ground emergency resulted in the discovery of a discrepancy with the system.