posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 01:39 PM
I spoke with a former B-2 crewman yesterday. He said if the crew of the mishap aircraft was forced to abort their takeoff for some reason they had a
number of factors against them. Andersen has a 12,000-foot runway, so there is not a lot of leeway during a high-speed refused takeoff. Few crews have
experience in executing such an abort. If the aircraft was at takeoff speed or had already left the ground, ejecting was the recommended option
rather than attempting a belly landing. In such a scenario the B-2, because of its configuration, would be likely to flip over. Even if it didn't,
the exit door is on the bottom of the aircraft. The top hatches are jettisoned during the ejection sequence.
Incidentally, the frames for the escape hatches are considered primary structure. Damage to them would, according to my source, likely result in a
write-off of the airframe.
A few additional comments:
The RAM is flammable because it is essentially rubber and plastic. This material is simply a matrix for ferrites (microscopic spheroids of carbonyl
iron) taht are the essential ingredient of the radar absorbers.
The exhaust deck is lined with LI-900 ceramic tiles, the same as are used on the space shuttle orbiter. These are used to reduce the IR signature from
the exhaust. The F-117A is equipped with denser, LI-900-coated, bricks that also have radar absorbing qualities.
While many people have bemoaned the cost of each B-2 airframe, nobody has mentioned the fact that they cost so much because there are only 21 of them.
Had 100 been built, the unit-cost per airframe would have been much smaller as the base cost for manufacturing infrastructure, etc., would have been
spread over the entire production run.