WASHINGTON — The Air Force on Wednesday grounded its fleet of 68 B-1B bombers for a brief inspection of the plane's ejection system, following a recent crash in which only three of six crewmen on the aircraft were able to escape.
In a statement, the service's Strategic Air Command said that "this precautionary inspection is an outgrowth of the Sept. 28 accident" at a training range in eastern Colorado. The bomber crashed after two of its engines reportedly were damaged by birds.
The inspections, to take about two hours for each plane, were beginning immediately so that the planes can be returned to service soon, officials said.
"The Strategic Air Command is performing a precautionary, one-time inspection of each B-1B aircraft's emergency escape system prior to the aircraft's next flight," the statement said.