Ellsworth Suspends B-1 Operations Till 2014, Sequester Cuts Blamed
We knew the sequester cuts in Washington would hit Ellsworth Air Force Base, what we didn't know until today, is just how deeply they would be felt.
In an effort to ensure strategic readiness for forces already deployed, the Air Force announces today the suspension of B-1 operations on base, cutting key training hours to zero to meet a stringent fiscal limit on hours flown.
The air force has begun to stand down active duty combat units stateside, to meet a 45-thousand hour limit in training hours between now and October first. The limit means Ellsworth planes and crews will do no actual training flights between now and the end of the year.
Air Force brass say the curtailment to flying operations will impact base readiness, pilot qualifications and currency on the B-1. To mitigate those risks, Ellsworth command says they plan to maximize non-flying training opportunities both in the base's mission simulator as well as on the flight line for maintenance operations.
Earlier this year, we told you about civilian personnel furloughs caused by the sequester cuts. Those cuts affect hundreds of civilians working on the base, who have been cut back by two workdays per pay period to try and meet the cuts.