Ejection Seat Issue Grounds B-1B Fleet

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The Air Force has temporarily grounded the entire B-1B fleet after an ejection seat mishap in May. A Lancer diverted to Midland, Texas, on May 1 and one of the ejection seat deployment hatches was missing when it landed. The seat did not fire, however, and all four crew used the belly stairway to leave the aircraft. At the time, the Air Force declined to comment on the missing escape hatch but on Thursday it confirmed that all the nuclear bombers would sit until the ejection seat issue was investigated.

“The safety of airmen is the command’s top priority,” the Air Force statement said. “The Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes.” B-1s are deployed around the world in deterrent and strike roles and the safety stand down comes days before President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over nuclear disarmament by North Korea. The Air Force said the grounding won’t affect the readiness of the Air Force and the bombers will be back in the air as soon as the ejection seat issue is resolved.

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