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Air Force Crew Survives Bomber Jet Crash at Ellsworth Base

A U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer bomber jet from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota crashed during a training mission on January 4, according to officials.

Crash Details

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The crash occurred around 5:50 p.m. while the B-1 Lancer was attempting to land at Ellsworth Air Force Base. All four crew members on board successfully ejected, and there are no reported injuries at this time.

Weather Conditions at the Time

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Poor visibility, freezing temperatures, and low clouds were reported during the time of the crash. This was recorded by automated weather reporting equipment at the airfield.

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Cause Under Investigation

Credit: DepositPhotos

The cause of the incident remains unknown, and Air Force officials have initiated an investigation. A board of Air Force officers will be tasked with determining the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Emergency Response

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Multiple local fire departments responded to the crash scene following reports of a small fire. The Ellsworth Air Force Base has been temporarily closed to flight operations after the incident.

Ellsworth Air Force Base Closure

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Reports indicate that Ellsworth Air Force Base has suspended flight operations in the aftermath of the crash. This was indicated by a Notice to Airmen/Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) advisory.

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B-1 Lancer Background

Credit: SLIAC, SLOVAKIA – AUGUST 27: Bomber B-1 Bone Lancer at airshow SIAF 2017 on August 27, 2017 in Sliac — Photo by jarino

The 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base operates the B-1B Lancer, a highly versatile supersonic bomber. The B-1B Lancer is known for its ability to deliver precision and non-precision weapons globally.

Purpose and Versatility of B-1 Lancer

Credit: US Air Force B-1B pictured at the 2018 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. — Photo by wellsie82

The B-1 Lancer, in service since the 1980s, serves as the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. It is capable of rapidly delivering a variety of weapons against adversaries worldwide.

Blended Wing/Body Configuration

Credit: DepositPhotos

The bomber’s unique features, including a blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings, and turbofan afterburning engines. This contributes to its long-range capabilities, maneuverability, and high speed.

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Limited Remaining Fleet

Credit: Riverside, California,USA–April 16,2016. Airplanes flying at 2016 March Air Show in Riverside, California. The 2016 Air Show features the USAF Thunderbirds and military airplanes flying for the public. — Illustration by KGriff

Originally, 100 B-1 Lancer bombers were built. However, there are less than 60 are currently in service at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Recent Air Force Incidents

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This incident follows the recovery of the black box from a CV-22B Osprey crash off the coast of Japan in November. The Osprey crash resulted in the loss of eight airmen.

Ongoing Investigations

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The investigations into both the B-1 Lancer crash and the Osprey crash are ongoing, with authorities examining data from the recovered black box. Preliminary information suggests a potential materiel failure in the Osprey crash.

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