The B-2 Spirit is a military aircraft that resembles a futuristic spaceship owned by the US Air Forces. This plane is the ultimate stealth weapon of war: it was designed to carry nuclear bombs and missiles, and it is completely invisible to electromagnetic, infrared, visual and radar signs. This makes the B-2 able to fly into enemy territories without being detected at all and drop extremely damaging bombs.
Only 21 of these aircraft were built in the world. The most impressive part? Each of them cost about 737 million dollars.
However, at the present, only 20 of them exist, because one of them crashed in 2008, which was the most expensive plane crash in history.
Approximately 10 years ago, the B-2 #89-0127 “Spirit of Kansas” was taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, in Guam, but the plane hardly left the ground before hitting it again and crashing. Both crew members that were in the B-2 were able to eject successfully at low altitude.
An investigation was conducted later and identified that the cause was moisture in the sensors responsible for sending and receiving data from operating centers. According to The Avionist, “heavy, lashing rains caused moisture to enter skin-flush air-data sensors that gave wrong inputs to the flight-control computers. The combination of slow lift-off speed and the extreme angle of attack resulted in an unrecoverable stall, yaw, and descent”.
Apparently, this type of problem had never occurred before, so the humidity in the sensors was probably never checked. However, in Guam, the humidity was significantly higher when compared to other places where the B-2 had operated before. Even if the maintenance crew detected this type of problem at any point, they probably thought it was only a minor detail, and didn’t include it on the safety and maintenance protocols.
With the combination of highly unusual weather conditions and lack of sufficient detailing in maintenance procedures, a total loss worth about 1.4 billions dollars occurred.