B-1B Wheels Up Landing

B-1B Wheels-up Belly Landing - crew forgot to lower the landing gear! Guess there was no checklist?

At about 10 p.m. local time on May 8, 2006, a 7th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer based at Dyess AFB, Texas , made an unintended wheels-up belly landing on runway 31 at Diego Garcia, skidding 7,500 feet down the 12,000 foot runway. Diego Garcia is an atoll about 1,000 miles south of the southern tip of India. The aircraft was landing at the end of a wearisome 11 hour ferry mission that started at Andersen AFB , Guam . During the wheel-less landing, the B-1B caught fire, but emergency crews extinguished the flames. The four-person aircrew escaped from the plane through the overhead escape hatch. The aircraft was finally removed from the runway 4 days later. The Air Force Accident Investigation board concluded the pilots forgot to lower the landing gear. The USAF estimated the damage to the B-1B at $7.9 million, and the damage to the runway at $14,025. RBRM and those old SEABEES made one tough runway, that's for sure! Note the debris coming out of the nose gear in the 7th photo. The B1-B's nose touching down and scraping the runway was probably the cause of the fire. A guess would be that the Air Force retired this damaged B-1B, and used it for spare parts. There are currently 30 operable B-1Bs in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, AR, which can cover any replacement needs.

Diego Garcia is leased by the British from India, and the U.S. Air Force made it's own deal with the Brits. The U.S. operates several operations at the base: Aircraft refueling station, staging B1-B, B-2, and B-52 bombers and fuel tanker aircraft, The island is one of five monitoring stations assisting the operation of the Global Position System (GPS), as well as a naval refueling and support station. It's also a deployment site for the Navy's P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, as well as A NASA space shuttle emergency landing site. It's also an emergency landing site for ETOPS (long range 2 engine passenger airliners) in trouble. No service member dependants are allowed on site.

Thanks Ben for another good one! For those of you who've never seen a $285,000,000.00 bomber on the deck, here she is: .