FOD Caused B-1B Engine Fire

An Accident Investigation Board has concluded that foreign object damage was the culprit in a March 20 incident in which a B-1B bomber taking off from its home base at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., suffered a fire in engine No. 3. The fire ignited several small grass fires and damaged two fences on private property, and, although the crew landed the aircraft safely, damage to the aircraft was more than $900,000, according to the AIB executive summary. The aircraft and crew of four, all assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth, were on a mission qualification training sortie for the co-pilot. The FOD caused a hole in the engine fuel spray bar that directed aircraft fuel between the exhaust duct and exhaust nozzle liner. The fuel ignited and burned through the exhaust duct to the engine outer shroud: the crew shut down the engine, stopping the fire.