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Air Disasters - February 3, 2017

The B-2 Spirit bomber is a blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload that gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Its unrefueled range is approximately 6,000 nautical miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Olsen)

Q: The most expensive airplane crash in the history of the U.S. Air Force happened in 2008. While no one was hurt, a B-2 stealth bomber crashed on the tiny island of Guam in the Western Pacific. The plane was destroyed, costing the U.S. an estimated $1.4 billion. What was the name of this B-2 bomber?


 
A: Spirit of Kansas
 
On 23 February 2008, the B-2 bomber known as the Spirit of Kansas crashed shortly after takeoff from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The flight crew of two safely ejected from the aircraft and survived, but the plane was completely destroyed. The loss was estimated at $1.4 billion. This was the first crash of a B-2. Spirit of Kansas was operated by the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. 
 
From Wikipedia: the cause of the crash was later determined to be moisture in the aircraft's Port Transducer Units during air data calibration, which distorted the information being sent to the bomber's air data system. As a result, the flight control computers calculated an inaccurate airspeed, and a negative angle of attack, causing the aircraft to pitch upward 30 degrees during takeoff.  
 
Factoid: The B-2 stealth bomber is nicknamed the Boomerang and sometimes called the Black Knight.
 
Today's Kansas Trivia Question is brought to you by Yello Sub in Lawrence.  

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