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Report: pilot error caused B-1B crash

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- A B-1B Lancer takes off on a simulated deployment during the base’s operational readiness exercise. The aircraft is with the 9th Bomb Squadron here known as the “Bats.” The exercise prepares Airmen for the upcoming operational readiness inspection and wartime deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Araceli Alarcon)

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LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (ACCNS) -- Pilot error caused a B-1B aircraft to crash while landing on the runway at a forward deployed location May 8, 2006, according to an aircraft accident investigation report released today.
 
The copilot suffered a minor back injury and the other three crew members were not injured. Damage totaled approximately $7.9 million for the aircraft and the damage to the runway totaled approximately $14,025.

The aircraft is assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB, Texas.

Investigators concluded that the cause of the mishap was both pilots' failure to lower the landing gear during the aircraft's approach and landing. Contributing factors for the pilots' failure to lower the landing gear were the copilot's task oversaturation; the copilot's urgency to complete a long mission; both pilots' inattention to instrument readings and the Descent/Before Landing Checklist, and the copilot's false belief that the pilot had lowered the landing gear.

According to the report, the pilot unexpectedly turned over aircraft control to the copilot on the final approach. The pilot reported to the air traffic control tower that the landing gear was down despite the fact that the Descent/Before Landing Checklist was never completed and the landing gear was never lowered. The red warning light in the gear handle, indicating all landing gear was not down and locked, was illuminated for more than four minutes during the approach. Additionally, at the time the aircraft landed, the three green position lights, which illuminate after the landing gear has locked in the down position, were not illuminated.
 
For more information, contact the Air Combat Command Public Affairs office at (757) 764-5014 or e-mail acc.pam@langley.af.mil.