How a group of photographers was blown and burnt by B-1B Lancer’s afterburner at airshow

Feb 14 2013 - 4 Comments

The incident happened on arrival day at RIAT Cottesmore in 2001.

Some photographers and aircraft spotters were next to the perimeter fence on the northeastern side of the airport next to the runway 23 threshold. This spot provided a unique point-of-view as arriving and departing aircraft were pretty close.

A B-1B Lancer 86-0104, 34th Bomb Squadron, was preparing for his rehearsal: it taxied to the holding point of runway 23, entered the runway and lined-up, while many photographers thought that the Bone’s departure would provide the perfect opportunity to get an impressive shot.

However, as the pilot pushed the throttles to the stop, to full afterburner, exhaust gases reached the spotters assembled just a few meters behind the American bomber.

Heat haze hit the photographers, some of those barely manage to escape the jet blast: some were burnt, others slightly injured cuts and bruises, others simply shocked.

Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt.

Click on the image below to watch the video.


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  • I stood around twenty meters behind a Mig 29 as it started taxying (Le Bourget on a weekday in the good old days – with the Mig in an unusual parking place) and I could barely stand the heat… I’m surprised that none of the people behind the B1 had any singed hair !

  • Wesley Lively

    Darwin lives…

  • Oooopsy

  • James Robinson

    Can anyone else think of a louder plane? I’ve been to many airshows and it seems low fly-overs by B1’s with four engines in max afterburner is the loudest aircraft I’ve ever heard. Immensely impressive.