B-2 Crash!

Discussion in 'Modern' started by FLYBOYJ, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    HAGATNA, Guam - A B-2 stealth bomber crashed at an air base on Guam but both pilots ejected safely and were in good condition, the Air Force said.

    Thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the wreckage at Andersen Air Force Base, said Geanne Ward, a resident in the northern village of Yigo who was on the base visiting her husband.

    Ward said she didn't witness the crash but noticed a rising plume of smoke behind the base's air control tower.

    She said crowds began to gather as emergency vehicles arrived Saturday morning local time.

    "Everybody was on their cell phones, and the first thing everyone wanted to know was did the pilots make it out in time," she said.

    A board of officers will investigate the accident.

    Each B-2 bomber costs about $1.2 billion to build. All 21 stealth bombers are based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri but the Air Force has been rotating several of them through Guam since 2004, along with B-1 and B-52 bombers.
     
  2. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad the pilots got out safely.
     
  3. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Yes, I'm glad both of the pilots ejected safely. However, there goes a billion dollars worth of A/C.

    To put it in perspective, most third-world air forces spend about a billion dollars ON THEIR ENTIRE AIR FORCE. Scary . . .
     
  4. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    There have been a lot of Class-A's this fiscal year already...
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Agreed, Matt. Last year was a spate of airshow crashes, this year it's a lot of military crashes.

    Considering how long the B-2 has been in operation, and through several conflicts, I'd say their safety record has been very good. Thankfully, the crew got out okay.
     
  6. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Welcome back, Matt.... missed you...

    Glad the pilots got out ok.

    Charles
     
  7. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    We only lost a billion dollars worth of composite materials, metal, plastic, rubber, etc. Replaceable.

    Thank God the pilots are safe.

    TO
     
  8. Konigstiger205

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    Agreed...the life of the pilots its a lot more important than the aircraft but this is going to be very expensive to replace...we had some accidents here in recent years but on Migs21 and in some of the crashes the pilots unfortunately didn't make it...
     
  9. Trautloft

    Trautloft Member

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    do you know which of these (Northrop designation, AV- xxx , Spirit of xxx) crashed?
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The loss of the B2 points out the fact that these aircraft are extremely expensive and irreplacable.

    Its proof that the next generation of bombers need to be unmanned and cheap enough to be expendable.
     
  11. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    The Airforce is already looking at the next generation bomber to be fielded in 2018. It is currently to be manned and smaller than B-2. Specs are for a 28,000lb load. Operational scenarios also indicate subsonic with about a 5000+ mile range.

    The comment above about the B-2 operational record is spot on. And $1.2B price tag includes all the ground infrastructure and maintenance tooling too. While most certainly expensive, the airframe is not quite that expensive. What does that leave us with... 19?
     
  12. Kiwikid

    Kiwikid Member

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    Any idea if it was engine failure or something else ?
     
  13. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    It must have been something dramatic for pilots to abandon a multi-engine aircraft. One engine failure should have been no big deal. One engine blowing up and taking out the other (they are in pairs in the fuselage) could do it. Total loss of flight controls would certainly do it, but they are highly redundant (quad redundant). It is certainly not likely that the loss or failure of controls and displays would cause that, but it still makes a knot in my stomach. The plane is a software plane. Was there a software glitch just waiting for the right combinations to occur? We did have an occurrence where all the controls and displays (actually all avionics) were lost during a test flight, except the backup systems, and I was on the hot seat. It turned out to be a software glitch. The B-2 was designed to have growth to three crewmen, so we built in that capability in the software. There was an electrical failure on the cursor select switch (which selected the display on which the cursor would work). The failure indicated that the operator had selected a display that was a growth location. The main computer looked for the display, and, not finding it, declared itself sick and turned itself off. The back up computer detected this and automatically took over. It scanned for status and found the faulty select switch and looked for the non-present display. Finding none, declared itself sick and shut down. There are only two main processors that control all of avionics! Everything went black except emergency systems. Thank goodness I was not responsible for that system. It is interesting that I had argued not to have the back up instruments because the C and D subsystem was so much more reliable than any other aircraft including their back up system. I was right regarding the C and D system, but I wasn't considering the support processors, or their software systems design. Luckily, I lost that argument (I really didn't fight hard).

    Anyway, it is the loss of a national treasure.

    I'll try to contact my B-2 buds and find out if they have heard anything. My friend is the chief engineer of the B-2 and he will know the latest, but he will be too busy to bother.
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I was speaking with a buddy thats is a former USAF pilot. His opinion is that it was a software error or problem.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Dave, if what you say is true..... then the software engineers should have been executed for gross negligence.

    Certain critical functions whether in a aircraft, ship, refinery, hospital, etc should never ever be allowed to shutdown on account of the processor declaring itself "sick".

    A correctly designed system would have allowed the flight critical systems to operate in a "dumb mode" while the main computer and its backup decides wtf to do.

    And yes Dave, I do have a background in hi reliability systems.
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Lets be honest we don't know what caused the loss.
    What I would suggest is the reason why this is such a critical loss, is down to the low numbers purchased, leaving little if any reserve. They were always going to be expensive but the delays, reduced numbers, slowed production rates all bump up the unit cost.
     
  17. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    True, we won't know until after the official inquiry. Whether the results will be released to the general public is anyone's guess at this point.
     
  18. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    There are actually a multitude of ways to tackle the problem. Multiple redundancy, dissimilar processors, voting planes, commensurate design assurance, etc. Proper compliance with some of the published safety assessment guidance may also be suspect, MilStds 498, 882 and 2167. Failure of a system that can contribute to a catastrophic event must not only been shown to be extremely improbable, but must also be developed with redundancy to mitigate failsafe contingencies. The Follensby Principle. There are so many areas that are suspect here, it would be a sheer WAG to blame the architecture at this point.

    Hell for all we know, it was a flock of seagulls (cf KC-135 at Elmendorf).
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Damn that sucks! Good thing they are okay.

    Lets be honest it was only a matter of time till a B-2 goes down. It can happen to any aircraft.
     
  20. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I was squirming in my seat trying to contain my submittal (it is probably wise that I do). Leave it to say, that I consider boundry testing and beyond boundry testing of values a basic systems criteria.

    All sound comments.

    I will say that flight control software, deemed safety of flight, is more rigorously tested than avionics in general. The aircraft should not be lost for failure of avionics systems.

    Yes.
     
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