B-2 Write-Off

The B-2 that crashed Feb. 23 in Guam “basically stalled” and is “absolutely a total write-off,” Gen. John Corley, head of Air Combat Command, told defense reporters at a meeting March 27 in Washington, D.C. Corley said the pilots reported that the airplane “rotated early,” meaning the nose came up sooner and faster than the pilots commanded, and they could not get it to come down again. The airplane stalled—meaning the pitch was too high for airflow over the wings to create lift—and, when the left wing started dragging against the ground, the two-man crew ejected. Corley made no mention of an onboard fire, which has been reported by some publications. He said there are two investigations underway: a safety and an accident probe. The former is due mid-April, the latter in mid-May. The 20 remaining B-2s are not technically grounded, Corley said, but are not flying while the 509th Bomb Wing at the B-2’s home base of Whiteman AFB, Mo., reviews its training and inspection procedures. In the meantime, Corley said, crews are staying proficient by flying in the simulator and in the T-38 companion trainer.