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 Post subject: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:53 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 1:21 pm
Posts: 449
Location: Columbus, OH
For those who have not heard, a historic flying B-17 crash landed and burned in Connecticut yesterday with the loss of 7 of the 13 lives on board, some of which were passengers. No cause has been released yet, though there were communications from the plane that they were not able to gain altitude after takeoff and circled back to the airport. The B-17 was know as "Nine-O-Nine" and was owned and operated by the Collings Foundation.

Of course the media seems to be sensationalizing this as they do with all plane crashes. Already there is a senator Blumentha of Conntecticut that is calling for the grounding of all historic aircraft pending an investigation.

Bringing this home to rail preservation, it only takes one accident to call an entire industry into question. Seems like it could be air version of the Gettysburg incident or the Medina steam tractor explosion. (from an industry perspective, not necessarily indicating a lack of proper maintenance in this case.) How society at large reacts to this tragedy may provide a case study for us in rail preservation.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/vintage-b-17-plane-crashes-erupts-flames-bradley-international-airport-n1061161

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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 156
Location: Los Altos, CA
The operation of historic aircraft with big radial engines has become problematic. There have been enough incidents with historic aircraft that a knowledgeable friend has sworn off riding in historic aircraft. Here are a few examples in addition to yesterday’s disaster.


we had a DC-3 crash in Ohio:
https://abcnews.go.com/US/dead-hurt-pla ... -faa/story


Another DC-3 crash in South Africa:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safr ... SKBN1K026O


A P-51D Mustang fighter crashed
https://canoe.com/news/world/vintage-fi ... -killing-2

A Junkers JU-52 went down in Europe:
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-ar ... rland.html


Lufthansa pulled the plug on restoring a Lockheed Constellation, possibly because it is difficult to operate a historic aircraft
http://www.conniesurvivors.com/1-connie_news.htm#MAR15


The history flight foundation’s restored DC-7 experienced a failure after takeoff on its number three engine, and it made an emergency landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in early 2013 It remains on temporary static display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum as of November 2014, awaiting return to flight.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_DC-7B_N836D

Draw your own conclusions.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 223
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lets look at how many trains have derailed in the last year and how many people were killed, so let ban trains, Oh, but semis kill even more, so let ban them too.

Sadly, something went wrong with nine-o-nine. But, this plane could have still safely fly on the 3 remaining engines, so what happened.

There are different reports out there as to what happened, such as. One report says they came around and landed on runway 6, then veered to the right, leaving the main runway and crashing into the storage tanks. Another report says they landed short of runway 6, veered to the right and lost control, hitting the storage tanks.

It will take time for the FAA to figure out what happened. Sadly, I believe all the crew is dead, so they can not tell their story.

So, lets not jump on the ban wagon to ban flying WWII aircraft. I like trains, but I also love WWII aircraft from the P51 to the radial powered bombers.

As for the P51 crash, the story on it would not come up. The problem with some of the owners of this plane, is they can not handle the power. I have read some of the crash reports on the P51 and many have to do with low level passes and then "Stalling" the aircraft.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 410
Location: Danbury, CT
The Collings Foundation Boeing B-17 “Nine-O-Nine” was at Bradley International a long with their B-24, B-25, P-40, and P-51 as part of a static display event where they also offer flight experiences on a paying basis.

The aircraft reported engine trouble with one of its four engines upon climbing out shortly after takeoff and requested clearance to land. Witnesses stated the sound of back firing engines as they saw the aircraft pass by in the pattern. NTSB officials stated that the aircraft clipped the ILS approach lights, touched down, and veered off and crashed into the de-icing area to the east of runway 6, where it came to rest. The aircraft began to burn. Fire crews had the fire under control within 20 minutes leaving no immediately identifiable components aside from the tail section and a portion of the left wing. There were a total of 13 souls aboard the aircraft. This includes three flight crew members and 10 passengers. At this time, 7 individuals have perished and 6 survive in various conditions.

This particular B-17 was manufactured in 1945, but did not serve as a WWII combatant. It was used in search and rescue service, nuclear weapons testing, firefighting tanker service, and finally restored to a wartime appearance for its usage in preservation. The aircraft suffered two landing incidents, one in 1987 and the other in 1995.

This aircraft has successfully and reliably flown thousands of hours over the years and has been maintained in accordance with FAA requirements. It has been flown by competent pilots with thousands of hours ranging from commercial to military flight time and experience. This is not to mention the many hours they had in this particular aircraft and the familiarity that comes with such experience.

I had the pleasure of flying in this aircraft as a passenger and can speak from experience.

I would encourage everyone to refrain from speculation and from any knee-jerk reaction until the FAA and NTSB release their findings upon completion of their investigation. The politicians have already begun to question the age and safety of these warbirds and have even started calling them “ancient aircraft”. If this is their attitude toward vintage aircraft, it may not be an unrealistic concern that other vintage forms of transportation may come under scrutiny in a similar situation.

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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm
Posts: 174
I have flown on the Collings B-25 and flew their P--51. My heart goes out to the crew and passengers that were killed or injured on that flight.
You are right about the knee jerk of the media and politicians. As long as an aircraft is maintained, they are safe. I helped my cousin restore a 1947 Stinson, which is still flying today up in Alaska..


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Ontario, Canada.
It is a tragedy for sure.
However, with any moving piece of machinery, there is always the possibility of failure.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum near Hamilton, Ontario flies a Lancaster 4-engine bomber, Harvard trainers, a DC-3 Dakota cargo plane, B-25 Mitchell bomber, and others regularly. In fact, the museum flew the Lancaster across the North Atlantic to Britain for special commemorations there:
https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/canada-s- ... -1.2028602
The England trip seemed a bit chancy, but we have to expect that the museum mechanics know what they have and what it can do.
The day may come when little of this stuff will operate, so enjoy it while you can.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 156
Location: Los Altos, CA
AlcoC420 wrote:
As for the P51 crash, the story on it would not ome up.


It came up for me.

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — (Nov 2018) Two people were killed when a vintage Second World War fighter plane crashed into the parking lot of an apartment complex in Fredericksburg, Texas Saturday, a state police spokesman said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Orlando Moreno said the two people were on board the plane. He did not identify the dead.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the aircraft was destroyed and several automobiles damaged.
The Second World War P-51D Mustang fighter crashed at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Photos from the crash site showed pieces of the plane on top of parked vehicles.
The Mustang was first built by North American Aviation in 1940 and was used by the U.S. military in the Second World War and the Korean War.
Fredericksburg is home to the National Museum of the Pacific War. The museum said on Twitter that one of those in the plane who was killed was a veteran. It was not immediately clear if those killed, or the plane were associated with the museum, which has a collection of Second World War equipment and memorabilia.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA said they would investigate at the site, which is about 70 miles (113 kilometres) north of San Antonio."


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:23 am
Posts: 30
I rode in a B17 (not this one) a few years ago when it visited Metropolitan Airport in Indianapolis, and it was a well maintained class act with a highly trained competent crew. These planes during the war ran on 3 engines quite often and could even "limp home" on 1 engine. To only loose 1 engine, yet still loose control and clip runway lights and crash, screams pilot error. Far to often we only hear about the crashes, and never about the hundreds of successful flights these vintage aircraft make each and every year. These knee jerk reactions are just the sort of thing that will kill historic preservation of not only vintage aircraft, but other worthy preservation programs as well.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2071
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I, too, have flown in that B-17 as well as done formation flying next to it from their B-24 and another P-51 that used to fly along with them through the south.
Image
https://youtu.be/vZKtvRdNgkk
Here is some NTSB video on the ground:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO8HdzYa6f4&feature=youtu.be
Wow, this tells a lot that I wasn't aware of before seeing the video, that seems to be clear and not conjecture, based on what can be easily seen now:
* The airport's de-icing tanks apparently didn't contribute to the fire at all
* The plane's nose apparently hit that ILR mast. Note the piece of curved Perspex on the grass where the plane met that mast. If that was indeed a nose hit, I can only guess what might have happened in the cockpit. Sadly, we'll never know for sure on that point...

The names of the deceased have been released officially:

Ernest McCauley, 75 - Pilot, from Long Beach, CA
Michael Foster, 71 - Co-Pilot, from Jacksonville, FL
David Broderick, 56 - passenger from West Springfield, MA
Gary Mazzone, 66, - passenger from Broad Brook, CT
James Roberts, 48 - passenger from Ludlow, MA
Robert Riddell, 59 - passenger from East Granby, CT
Robert Rubner, 64 - passenger from Tolland, CT
Rest In Peace

Injured:
Mitchell Melton, 34 - Flight engineer on B-17, from Dalehaff, TX
Andy Barrett, 36 - passenger from South Hadley, MA
Linda Schmidt, 62 - passenger from Suffield, CT
Tom Schmidt, 62 - passenger from Suffield CT
Joseph Huber, 48 - passenger from Tariffville, CT
James Traficante, 54 - passenger from Simsbury, CT

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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:51 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1173
The one who knows the most important details (Melton) has, at least technically, survived.

These aircraft were, I think, very sensitive to having full engine power on climbout. That said, it would have been with a full bombload plus the ten crew: not that many more passengers doesn't qualify, nor do I suspect they carried a full fuel load.

The difficulty would have been low-altitude, sharp-turn maneuvering with at least one engine presumably out, complicated by 'taildragging' ground behavior also with one engine out and possibly with nonfeathered prop.

If there was a nose strike on an ILS mast, it would go a long way toward explaining the on-the-ground behavior that seems to be most of the 'actionable' issue about the forced landing.

I suspect the safety issue will be, as it often is, partially related to the pure-preservation aspect: What were they doing flying a historic artifact regularly, airworthy certified or otherwise? Far greater momenta and speeds, with much more fragile structures, are involved in heavy aircraft flight than in, say, operation of preserved steam power even at full modern pressure, and the post-consequences of an accident, including fire, are probably greater than anything involving passenger equipment at typical 'insurance-qualified' running speed.

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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:50 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:03 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Guildford, UK
ebtrr wrote:
Bringing this home to rail preservation, it only takes one accident to call an entire industry into question. Seems like it could be air version of the Gettysburg incident or the Medina steam tractor explosion.


For a non american what was the Gettysburg Incident please - Google only brings up Civil War items.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:25 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:26 am
Posts: 65
Location: Princeton, NJ
Here is the report on the Gettysburg boiler explosion:
https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-stud ... IR9605.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:42 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 156
Location: Los Altos, CA
Overmod wrote:
I suspect the safety issue will be, as it often is, partially related to the pure-preservation aspect: What were they doing flying a historic artifact regularly, airworthy certified or otherwise? Far greater momenta and speeds, with much more fragile structures, are involved in heavy aircraft flight than in, say, operation of preserved steam power even at full modern pressure, and the post-consequences of an accident, including fire, are probably greater than anything involving passenger equipment at typical 'insurance-qualified' running speed.


The friend, an aviation professional and enthusiast, who I mentioned in a previous post, mentions these issues after he cites the recent spate of crashes and incidents, some of which I list above. Maintaining increasingly fragile airframes, locating parts and maintaining increasingly antiquated systems and finding suitable avgas are all problems in antique aircraft. I've flown on Ford Trimoters, DC-3s, Convairliners and a Junkers 52/3m, but these recent incidents are disturbing.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:44 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Reminds me of a quip about Amtrak during a period when they were having a LOT of mechanical failure issues about 25 years ago: "When our engines fail you don't fall 30,000 feet". Too soon?

Seriously, there will come a day when none of these old war birds fly anymore. I remember, not too many years ago when there was a Ford Tri-Motor in regular service in the Lake Erie Islands. I believe that service ended badly as well. I've read that there is a practical limit to the number of take-offs and landings a typical air frame can withstand before metal fatigue makes them too dangerous to fly anymore. Most aircraft are retired well before that point - like the recently retired MD-80 fleet. Like old railroaders, they become "functionally obsolete" - able to still work, but not able to be easily maintained in operating condition.

I have long felt that there should be a Goodyear-built F2G Corsair displayed in Akron. That has never been the case. A local air museum has part of a simulator cockpit for one, but that is as close as we've ever gotten. There are a few still in existence and flying, and I hope one survives to one day return home in retirement. My paternal grandmother worked on the Corsair production line at Goodyear Aircraft in the old Airdock hanger in South Akron during the war. (Preservation content: There are numerous images of NKP 765 passing the Airdock on the trips to Canton they have made in the past several years on the net.)

Having heard the stories of heavily damaged B17's managing to limp back to Britain during WWII, that there is more to what happened than the simple loss of one engine is probable.


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 Post subject: Re: (OT, sort of) B-17 crash in Conecticut
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:50 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 954
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Overmod wrote:
The one who knows the most important details (Melton) has, at least technically, survived.

These aircraft were, I think, very sensitive to having full engine power on climbout. That said, it would have been with a full bombload plus the ten crew: not that many more passengers doesn't qualify, nor do I suspect they carried a full fuel load.

The difficulty would have been low-altitude, sharp-turn maneuvering with at least one engine presumably out, complicated by 'taildragging' ground behavior also with one engine out and possibly with nonfeathered prop.

If there was a nose strike on an ILS mast, it would go a long way toward explaining the on-the-ground behavior that seems to be most of the 'actionable' issue about the forced landing.

I suspect the safety issue will be, as it often is, partially related to the pure-preservation aspect: What were they doing flying a historic artifact regularly, airworthy certified or otherwise? Far greater momenta and speeds, with much more fragile structures, are involved in heavy aircraft flight than in, say, operation of preserved steam power even at full modern pressure, and the post-consequences of an accident, including fire, are probably greater than anything involving passenger equipment at typical 'insurance-qualified' running speed.


I seriously doubt that this is in any degree comparable to the Gettysburg boiler incident. Other preserved B-17s have been lost with fatalities. The question of condition is specific to every individual aircraft. The B-17 was hardly what one would call "fragile" considering the type of damage they could incur while remaining airborne. However, metal fatigue over time may be a valid concern regarding specific airframe members.

Would I personally fly in a preserved B-17? Certainly. I wouldn't go on a maiden flight but then again, no sensible operator would permit passengers on a test flight. Some aircraft of the era (specifically the DC-2 and DC-3) were spectacularly overengineered. DC-3s continue to fly in commercial service to this day-mostly in South America and overseas. There are companies that modify DC-3s to the DC-3T (turboprop and extended fuselage) and continue to manufacture new parts or recondition salvaged parts. Of cargo, it was said that if you could fit it in the cargo door, the DC-3 could carry it.

In the aviation community, it is widely believed that when 1934 rolls around, there will still be a number of unmodified DC-3 airframes in commercial service. Thus the DC-3 is highly likely to be the first airplane to see a century of uninterrupted commercial service (the DC-3 has never been grounded).

A better comparison to Gettysburg is the Galloping Ghost crash at Reno-an airplane that was negligently maintained by people who knew better but were lazy at best or criminally negligent at worst. All those people lost their lives because of a ten cent lock nut. LITERALLY, a ten cent lock nut that was worn out directly caused the crash.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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