US stealth bomber makes emergency landing after engine, electrical failures

Cause of in-flight emergency under investigation

By CNN'S RYAN BROWNE CONTRIBUTED REPORTING
Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III/U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons

1989: The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber flies for the first time.

(CNN) - A US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber safely landed at Colorado Springs Airport Tuesday morning after suffering an in-flight emergency, a spokesperson with the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base confirmed to CNN.

The $1.2 billion aircraft was en route to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Two pilots were on board and both aviators were unharmed, and the exact cause of the in-flight emergency is under investigation, according to the Air Force.

"The aircraft experienced an in-flight emergency. Our pilots are trained to handle such emergencies and safely landed the aircraft. A Maintenance Recovery Team will assess the aircraft and determine the cause," Air Force spokesperson Lt. Allen Palmer said in a statement Wednesday.

A US military official told CNN on Wednesday that the aircraft was diverted after experiencing a number four engine failure, followed by complete electrical failure.

Shortly after the pilots were able to restore the electrical system, they began experiencing pressurization issues, the official said.

"Our aviators are extremely skilled; they're trained to handle a wide variety of in-flight emergencies in one of the world's most advanced aircraft and they perfectly demonstrated that today," said Brig. Gen. John J. Nichols, 509th Bomb Wing Commander.

The incident was first reported by KOAA News, a CNN affiliate.

The aircraft is based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and is assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing.

B-2 bombers are manned by a two-person crew and are capable of delivering a 40,000-pound payload, including nuclear bombs, according to the US Air Force, which maintains 20 aircraft in its fleet of stealth bombers.

According to the B-2's primary contractor Northrop Grumman, the B-2 can fly 6,000 nautical miles before it needs to be refueled.

The aircraft involved in Tuesday's incident was not armed when it was forced to land, according to the Air Force.

"Whiteman AFB routinely conducts training missions with the B-2 Spirit to effectively provide lethal global strike capabilities for the United States. During this training mission, the aircraft was not carrying any weapons," Palmer told CNN in a statement.

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