Crew Identified in B-1 Crash in Montana


The Air Force released Tuesday the names of the two pilots and two weapons system officers involved in the B-1 bomber crash Monday that occurred near Broadus, Mont.

Maj. Frank Biancardi II, an instructor pilot, Capt. Curtis Michael, an instructor pilot, Capt. Chad Nishizuka, an instructor weapons system officer, and Capt. Brandon Packard, an instructor weapons system officer, all ejected before the B-1 hit the ground and was destroyed.

The four crew members sustained non-life threatening injuries and are either receiving treatment or have been released from medical facilities, according to a release from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

The B-1 Lancer was flying a routine training mission prior to the crash. Ellsworth officials said the Air Force had launched an investigation to determine the cause.

No civilians on the ground were injured or killed in the crash.

The Air Force had 65 B-1 Lancers in its bomber fleet. During the Cold War, the B-1 carried nuclear weapons before it was converted to a strictly conventional bomber in the 1990s.

Ellsworth officials didn't say whether the bomber was carrying weapons at the time of the crash.

The aircraft, built by Boeing, has a 134-foot wingspan, a 30,000 foot ceiling, and can fly Mach 1.2 at sea level, according to Air Force statistics. It has served a prominent role in the Afghanistan war flying bombing mission over the past decade.

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