Hydraulic Leak Doomed B-1B

The near simultaneous failure of two hydraulic systems on a B-1B bomber after landing April 4 at an air base in Southwest Asia ultimately led to the aircraft’s destruction, Air Combat Command announced Oct. 1 in reporting the findings of the accident investigation board. Shortly after touchdown, the hydraulic systems in the B-1B’s landing gear failed due to a hydraulic leak, causing a loss of brakes and nosewheel steering as the aircraft moved down a taxiway. Unable to stop, despite the aircrew’s efforts to regain control, the B-1B struck a seven-foot concrete barrier near a line of C-130J aircraft, rupturing its fuel tanks and sparking a fire, which subsequently destroyed the bomber, ACC said. There were no injuries, but the B-1B was a “total loss” and two C-130Js were damaged, thus causing $346.2 million in total damage, according to the AIB executive summary. The B-1B was from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. It was supporting combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. We reported in May that the aircraft was considered a loss because it was damaged so severely. ACC last month fingered another brake-related issue as the culprit in causing a B-1B to roll into two firefighting vehicles after landing March 7 at Andersen AFB, Guam.