posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 02:37 PM
The B-1 record has improved immensely in recent years, but for a long time they had a lot of problems.
The Air Force uses various codes for mission capable readiness. NMC(M/S) is Non Mission Capable (Maintenance/Supply), which means that the aircraft
is non-flyable either waiting for repairs or parts. PMC(M/S) is Partially Mission Capable (Maintenance/Supply), which means that the plane can fly,
but it has a minor problem, such as a secondary radio problem or something that they can fly with. FMC is Fully Mission Capable, meaning there are no
problems with the aircraft.
We had five B-1s in, with all five listed on the board as FMC. One of their crew chiefs came in and saw it on the board and said "There is no such
thing as a Fully Mission Capable B-1." To make them capable of going past Mach 1, and getting near the top speed the Air Force wanted, they had to
remove a generator, so instead of having four, which would provide plenty of power to operate all their systems, they have three. That means that
during certain phases of flight, they have to choose which systems to operate. We had four make emergency landings due to engine problems, requiring
fan blade changes on three, and a full engine change on the fourth. They had launched out of Singapore on their way home, and had to choose between
navigation, or deicing. They flew through some clouds and developed ice on the intakes, which eventually broke off and went down the engines. They
could fly to Hickam from there (because it was the closest base with easy access to support), but pushing it back to Dyess would have been a challenge
at best, and risking disaster at worst if something were to happen to another engine.