Study, Investigation May Prompt Changes at Tinker Air Force Base

By May, Bill | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 19, 1989 | Go to article overview

Study, Investigation May Prompt Changes at Tinker Air Force Base


May, Bill, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Two investigations and an on-site study team at Tinker Air Force Base are expected to cause changes in several repair procedures and a stricter adherence to safety regulations, according to officials.

The investigations came about after a bomber refueling accident at Tinker which caused $4.3 million damage to a B-1B airplane. No one was injured in the May 26 accident.

Reports on those two investigations will be used as a blue-print to reduce the chances of another similar accident, according to 1st Lt. Ann Farmer of the Air Force Logistics Command Public Affairs Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

"Their goal (the study team and two investigations) is to identify and correct procedures dealing with safety and training," Farmer said. "They have laid out the facts and pointed out certain inadequacies. Now, these reports will be a blueprint to reduce the chances of a repetition of this incident.

"We will do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again."

Controls which will be instituted at Tinker also will be instituted at all five of the Air Logistics Centers scattered throughout the United States, Farmer said.

"We didn't investigate just Tinker Air Force Base," she said. "All these procedures will apply at all ALCs (Air Logistics Centers)."

The accident occurred when a pressure build-up inside one of the wing's fuel tanks caused a rupture in the fuselage during refueling of the B-1B bomber.

Apparent cause, according to a report written in mid-June, was a fuel pressure vent plug left in the fuel tanks after an earlier crew had performed pressure checks on the fuel system. The plane was filled with 114,000 pounds of JP-4 jet fuel when the accident occurred, spilling an estimated 2,000 gallons of fuel on the grounds.

Although some of the fuel reportedly seeped into a nearby creek, officials said the fuel was contained within the base area and was vaccumed and skimmed from the creek's surface. …

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