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Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
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ACC News Service -- Distorted data introduced by a B-2 Spirit's air data system skewed information entering the bomber's flight control computers ultimately causing the crash of the aircraft on takeoff at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on 23 February 2008, according to an Air Combat Command accident investigation report.

Moisture in the aircraft's Port Transducer Units during air data calibration distorted the information in the bomber's air data system, causing the flight control computers to calculate an inaccurate airspeed and a negative angle of attack upon takeoff. According to the report, this caused an, "uncommanded 30 degree nose-high pitch-up on takeoff, causing the aircraft to stall and its subsequent crash."

Moisture in the PTUs, inaccurate airspeed, a negative AOA calculation and low altitude/low airspeed are substantially contributing factors in this mishap. Another substantially contributing factor was the ineffective communication of critical information regarding a suggested technique of turning on pitot heat in order to remove moisture from the PTUs prior to performing an air data calibration.

The pilot received minor injuries, and the co-pilot received a spinal compression fracture during ejection. He was treated at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, and released. The aircraft was assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

The cost of the lost aircraft is about $1.4 billion.


B-2 (29k) Smoke rising above Anderson AFB on Guam following the B-2 crash
B-2 (33k) Skid mark left across the base by the B-2 wreck
B-2 (42k) Firefighters at the site of the smoldering stealth bomber wreck
B-2 (28k) Shattered remains of the crashed B-2 Spirit
B-2 (48k) Closeup of the B-2 wreckage
B-2 (41k) Remains of the B-2 after the fires had been extinguished
B-2 (39k) Closer view of the damage to the B-2

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