Air Force Grounds B-2 Bomber Fleet

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The U.S. Air Force has grounded its fleet of B-2 Spirit nuclear bombers following an incident that resulted in a B-2 making an emergency landing on Dec. 10. The aircraft was damaged on the runway at Missouri’s Whiteman Air Force Base and caught fire after landing. No injuries were reported and the accident investigation is ongoing.

As previously reported by AVweb, the emergency landing stemmed from an undisclosed in-flight malfunction that occurred during routine operations. The Air Force is planning to inspect the entire B-2 fleet, 20 aircraft in total, before returning the model to service. It is not yet known how long the inspections will take.

The incident is the second B-2 landing accident to occur at Whiteman in the last two years. In September 2021, a B-2 was damaged in a runway excursion while making an emergency landing at the base. That accident, which resulted in around $10 million in damage to the aircraft, was attributed to a gear collapse caused by worn-out springs in the left main gear failing to keep it locked.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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