The Stealth Bomber Crash Caught on Google Maps

YouTube / Dark Footage

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is a 172-foot-wide jet that has the capacity to sneak past enemy air defenses with the same radar signature of a small bird. As you would’ve expected, spotting one is quite rare since there are only 20 models of this warbird in existence. 

However, on September 14, 2021, a B-2 Spirit mysteriously crashed on Whiteman Air Force Base. This was captured on satellite by Google Maps, proof that not even the stealthiest and most expensive jets of the Air Force can hide from the internet. 

Rare B-2 Crash

The B-2 can be seen on the side of the runway, one of its wings digging into the ground. It didn’t take long for the air base to issue a temporary Flight Restriction Order over and around the base’s six-mile radius.

Flickr / USAF

The air space was to be restricted for two weeks to enable investigators to conduct a thorough inspection of the incident.

Captured by Google Maps

A few months later, photos of the incident made rounds online, bringing the attention to the case again. A photograph on Reddit showed the aircraft was mostly intact, resting in the grass, with possible signs of having dug into the ground with one wing. 

YouTube / Dark Footage

Internet sleuths came up with their own version of what had happened with the Stealth Bomber. The most likely reason, they said, was a hydraulic failure mid-flight which resulted in an emergency landing and the main landing gear collapsing.

The Truth

In March 2022, the Air Force Global Strike Command released a report on the investigation behind the crash-landing incident. According to their investigations, old springs installed in the plane’s left main landing gear failed to provide sufficient pressure to maintain the lock links in a locked position, resulting in it collapsing during landing.

Flickr / USAF

$10.1 million was the minimum estimate to start repairs.