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Depot failure responsible for RC-135 fire

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posted on Aug, 8 2015 @ 11:28 AM
On April 30th, an RC-135V/W belonging to the 343rd Recon Squadron, 55th Wing at Offut Air Force Base, was starting its take off run, for a local training mission, when fire broke out in the cabin, eventually burning a hole through the top of the fuselage. Four crew members received treatment for smoke inhalation.

The preliminary accident report was released, with the full accident report to come Monday, showing that failure of depot maintenance personnel to tighten an oxygen line to a fitting resulted in high pressure oxygen leaking into the cabin, where it created a "highly-flammable, oxygen rich environment" that ignited during the take off roll. Damage to the aircraft is estimated at over $62M.

A leak in an RC-135V Rivet Joint's high-pressure oxygen system led to a fire during the aircraft's initial takeoff on Apr. 30, 2015, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today.

The fire burned a hole through the upper fuselage of the aircraft, which is assigned to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Four crewmembers received treatment for minor smoke inhalation.

According to the investigation report, failure by contract depot maintenance personnel to properly tighten a retaining nut connecting a metal oxygen tube to a junction fitting caused an oxygen leak. This leak created a highly-flammable, oxygen-rich environment that subsequently ignited.
edit on 8/8/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 8 2015 @ 12:18 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Wow, that cold have ended so much worse if the aircraft was in the air when the fire broke out/was discovered. Fortunately the crew saw able to escape relatively unharmed.

posted on Aug, 8 2015 @ 12:34 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

What are some of the ramifications to a contractor operated depot center for an error such as this? I can't imagine the military absorbing the costs of an error by a contractor involving maintenance without a 'price' of some kind.

posted on Aug, 8 2015 @ 02:07 PM
a reply to: DaMac

They might get a letter saying "Bad Depot. No biscuit for you."

posted on Aug, 10 2015 @ 02:35 PM
A few more depot failures:

C-141 Nashville, TN:

Fuel plugs were left in after checking the system, and caused an over pressure in the tank while refueling on the ground.


Upon departure from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, the aircraft had to refuel from a tanker. During refueling the crew heard a bang from the mid fuselage area and disconnected from the tanker. They reconnected to the tanker, and the boomer reported fuel pouring out of two holes in the top of the wing. Upon returning to Al Udeid, it was found that at the previous PDM, the contractor left the fuel plugs in.


In-flow valves were plugged, and improper tools were used during ground pressurization test.


Only one bolt was properly secured when the wing was reattached after depot maintenance. During a pass and climb, the wing failed and separated.

posted on Aug, 10 2015 @ 03:45 PM
Beautiful examples of union work at its finest.

posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 06:00 PM
It was aircraft 64848. They were passing through 45 knots on takeoff, when the reconnaissance crew noticed a fire above the aft galley. The takeoff was aborted, and all 27 crew evacuated, with four suffering minor injuries from smoke inhalation.

The aircraft underwent PDM in August of 2013. No work was done on or near the oxygen system since then. Some of the B nuts used as retaining nuts in the system were found to be finger tight, instead of being tightened properly. The system eventually started leaking, leading to the fire.

posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 07:34 PM
A kick in the butt to the guys who signed off on the work as well.Maybe we should start an Ooooopsie thread.

posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 07:36 PM
a reply to: Blackfinger

It would be up to 20 pages in the first hour.

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