Stabilizer malfunction blamed in B-52 crash

This came out today, in the Air Force Times in an article by Bruce Rolfsen – Staff writer and posted : Friday Feb 13, 2009 14:10:10 EST

Here are several extracts from that story:


Malfunctioning parts and late recognition of spiraling problems likely led to the fatal crash … the bomber’s rear stabilizers …

… the stabilizers malfunctioned while the bomber was in a fast descent from 14,000 feet to 1,000 feet.

“Even an experienced aircrew could have found it difficult to recognize, assess and recover from the very rapidly developing situation involving the rear stabilizer trim,” board president Brig. Gen. Mark Barrett concluded.

… jackscrew revealed the stabilizer trim was set at 4.5 to 5 degrees nose down …

… the flight was normal until the jet turned left and began to descend about 33 miles west of Guam.

[During the descent] at … more than 240 mph, the stabilizers suddenly unhinged, putting the jet into a dive with the nose pointed down 30 degrees and more.

One of the pilots likely tried to level the stabilizers manually using a control wheel in the cockpit that moves the stabilizer 1 degree every two to three seconds, the report said. However, because the plane was already low, there wasn’t enough time to level the stabilizers.

At least three crew members tried to bail out seconds before the plane hit the water, but the plane’s speed, altitude and angle already were past the point where they could survive the ejection.

One Response to “Stabilizer malfunction blamed in B-52 crash”

  1. The Chuck says:

    Sounds like the airbrakes might have been dumped from six to zero at a bad time.

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