At about 10 p.m. local time on May 8, 2006, a 7th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer (Tail Number 86132 – called “Oh! Hard Luck”) based at Dyess AFB, Texas, made a wheels-up belly landing on runway 31 at Diego Garcia, skidding 7,500 feet down the runway. The aircraft was landing at the end of an 11 hour ferry mission that started at Andersen AFB, Guam. During the landing, the B-1B caught fire and 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, released 18 September 2006, 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!
For those of you who’ve never seen a $285,000,000.00 bomber on the deck, here she is! And at the bottom is a picture of what $7.9 million in repairs and a year of work can accomplish!
The official, publicly released Accident Investigation Board report stated that the crew forgot to lower the landing gear, however immediately prior to the B-1 landing gear up a B-52 landed and caught fire with a brake fire while the B-1 crew from the gear up landing was on their first approach. Which was certainly a distraction from the B-1 crew’s normal routine, and they had also just flown from the states to Guam the day prior. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, those two pilots are no longer employed as such by the Air Force.
Photos from the last week of April 2007 It is ready to fly again!
Credits: AF Times and AF Magazine,Ted Morris, Flyvertosset