Spirit of Washington is a Phoenix

The Air Force and its industry partners restored the Spirit of Washington, one of the service’s 20 B-2 stealth bombers, to full-mission-ready status after nearly a four-year hiatus. On Dec. 16, the bomber took part in its first training mission at Whiteman AFB, Mo., since it sustained significant damage in an engine fire on Feb. 26, 2010, on Guam, according to a Whiteman release. “It was a very cool experience to see the excitement in the maintainers when an aircraft many of them thought would never fly again returned to service as part of the 509th Bomb Wing,” said Col. Chase McCown, commander of Whiteman’s 509th Maintenance Group. Technicians were able to make repairs at Guam that allowed the B-2 to make the fight in August 2011 from Andersen Air Force Base to B-2 prime contractor Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., for overhaul. “One of the things that was most important to both the Air Force and Northrop was that the jet be returned to us without any flying or weapons delivery limitations. So far, it has been taking care of business perfectly,” said McCown. (Whiteman report by Candy Knight)