Someone emailed me a few questions, figured I'd post them here. If you have questions about the A model feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I know the answer I'll provide it. I'm extremely familiar with the hydraulic and flight control systems, moderately familiar with the propulsion, ECS, weapons, and structural systems, and not very familiar with the avionics. And there will of course be stories of GI's and Rockwell engineers doing silly things along the way.
Q:Why aren't the weapons bay spoilers on B-1A #2 flush with the forward edge
of the bay doors like they are on the B-1B?
A:Ship #2's spoiler was added after the fact. And because of that needed to be pulled every time we changes weapons racks or instrumentation packages. We got pretty good at pulling those guys!
Q:Did B-1A #4 have the feature that allowed the backseaters to eject automatically when one of the pilots ejected?
Q:Did B-1As have the safety handle you rotate down to mechanically disable the bay door drive?
A:Yes, the flip down handles at the corners, mechanical connection to the door power drive unit (PDU) to prevent accidents. Embarrassing to forget to put one up (or have one drop down in flight) on a weapons drop run, which happened once.
Q:Did the OAS on B-1As #3 & #4 use DTUCs for software loading, and CITS recording?
A:I do not recall. Tsgt Lewis was the CITS guy, I stayed away from that horrible piece of hand-patched, bad-interfaced, arm-numbing ceiling mounted monstrosity.
Q:How did ya'll sweep the wings back with the aircraft on the ground without
making it pop a wheelie?
A: Jacks, actually. Large wheeled jacks that supported and lifted the wing (simulating airload), then we swept on the ground. Combine that with insuring that the #4 tank had no fuel and #1 was full kept the CG far enough forward to prevent tail-sitting. Didn't do it often.
Q:What's the idea behind those outlets underneath the wings on the B-1B that
leak hydraulic fluid?
A:Hmmmmmm, not sure which ones you.... ah, I remember now. There is only one hydralic powered system in the wings, the spoiler actuators. Spoilers on the B-1, as you know, are always up when the aircraft is powered off on the ground, the pressure in the fluid in the lines keeps them extended. However, the fluid is trapped by the spoiler control valves inboard. If the ambient temperature rises, the fluid in those lines expands. Since it's trapped in the lines, there could be damage to the spoiler seals if it gets very hot (like it did at Edwards) and the fluid expands enough to create a lot of pressure. The drip you see is the output of the relief valves in the spoiler lines to prevent that overpressure.
By the way (more trivia for you) when we went the the Farnborough air show the brass said " Gosh, wouldn't the airplane look spiffier if the spolier were down when it was parked?" Stupid idea, but generals are like that. We drained all the nitrogen from the hydraulic reserviors, insured the spolier valves were OPEN when we powered down. Then Mike Ginn and Sully went up on the wing and we spent an hour with them standing on the spoilers draining the rest of the pressure. Had to do it every morning of the show. Stupid.
Update: Angel M. tells me that he was involved in a factory modin the late 80's to route the leaking spoilers back to the reserviours. Thanks AM!
Q:Did all B-1As have CITS? rotary launcher drives(RLDS)? and bay spoilers?
A:B-1 ship 4 was the first aircraft with a complete CITS system. And it sucked (probably still does).
A:All aircraft had rotary launchers.
A:Only ship #2 and the production models had weapons bay spoilers.
Q:Is it true #4 lost one of it's OSO/DSO hatches on the way to or from that
big airshow in England?
A:Yes. On takeoff from Andrews AFB on the way back from England, left side aft hatch. I'm going to write up the whole story and post it soon.
Q:On B-1As #1-3 what were those black dielectric panels (antennas) on the
bottom of the jet beside the forward and intermediate bomb bays?
A:Defensive avionics. The first three aircraft did not have any wing glove antennas, those were added in ship 4 and the production aircraft. Same with the tail radar, the first three aircraft had an empty tailcone. A tailcone that Frank Birk scraped on the runway one landing, forcing us to rivet a thick aluminum band around the tailcone.