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Collings Foundation B-17 crash leads to fire, closure of Bradley Airport

Firefighters responded to a large fire from an aircraft crash at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. The airport confirmed on Wednesday morning that it is closed. "We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft [Wednesday] morning at Bradley Airport," it posted to Twitter. "We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available." ( More...

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Wayne Fox 11
Very sad! May those who perished rest in peace. I have the good fortune to live near the AZ Wing of CAF and the have a beautiful B17 that often flies overhead. A beautiful sound those radials. Doubt that I could climb aboard now to fly but I have been inside of it!.
Mike Mohle 5
Hi Wayne I see it coming and going from Falcon and love the engine drone as well!
May God rest the souls of those lost, and ease the families' pain, and may He speed the recovery of those injured.

I still can't even believe this happened. I was just standing next to Nine-O-Nine and walking all around her on the 20th of September at KORH. The following Saturday, I shot a 1 minute video of her 4 engines rumbling in the distance, and her appearing over the tree line and flying directly over my house, then disappearing over the opposing tree line. I had no idea that would be the last time I'd ever see her again. I'm glad I said nothing during the entire video - will make a fitting tribute. I'll probably post it to YouTube when I have the time. I sure wish I had waited in line and walked around inside. I had my dad with me, and didn't want to leave him sitting down on the other side of the event waiting for me.

I also want to rant a bit about the media reporting on this. It's as if they're high schoolers trying out for drama class. What the hell happened to reporting just the FACTS, and not dramatizing the "black smoke", or the fact the aircraft was over 70 years old? Made me sick watching the initial reports.

Another thing I want to state is, these are some of the best maintained aircraft anywhere. The Collings Foundation spares no expense in keeping these birds airworthy. So sick of people automatically assuming that because it's an old bird, that makes it unreliable and dangerous. Sounds eerily similar to the types of comments coming from people attacking a certain Amendment to our Constitution ...

Rant over. RIP. Tail winds, and blue skies to those lost onboard. It's been great watching you fly all these years.
Dale Ballok 4
Smitty- well said. Yes, it was just another chance for the media to show their stupidity! Can't stand watching the "news" anymore. Everything is glorified and exaggerated to attract viewers. Very sad.
RIP Nine 0 Nine souls
I never flew in the 909 but I crawled all through 909 at the Salem Oregon airport a few years ago. I always wanted to take a ride in that magnificent B-17.
ynot ssor 4
I was at OL05 north of Salem, and was very pleased that the 909 overflew southward toward Salem at about 1000 ft. agl.
Oh yes… it always flew in so slow and low. The times I saw it come in to Salem airport it came from the south. It floated over the last hill south of Salem and you could barely hear the low rumble of the engines. I get goosebumps thinking of it. Such a magnificent flying machine.
Ken Koleto 8
Saw this earlier.. condolences to families involved. Just awful news.
bentwing60 8
Hurts every time! RIP And the Wiki. info.
If I had to pick where to spend my final moments, it would be in a warbird. Lost a good friend, Jeff Ethell, in the crash of a P-38, which was, ironically painted to look like the P-38 his father achieved ace status in in N. Africa.
So sad to lose one. One of my high school friend's father was top turret gunner on a B-17.
Charles Adams 21
My Uncle was a WWII B-17 Navigator flying out of Great Britain. Bailed out 3 times

My Father-In-Law is a 100 (going on 70) year old ex-B-29 Aircraft Commander who flew off of Tinnian Island. 35 Combat missions over the Empire.

My Dad was a B-24 Liberator pilot who flew from a muddy tent city in Italy over what remained of Hitler's 1000 year Reich. Crash landed on Vis once and bailed out two other times.

What did they all have in common? They all had pretty much the same toast they made to their buddies when they went down in flames, or however death would catch up to them. I am going to make it here for everyone on the latest B-17 to go down in flames...

Here's a toast,

To the Host,

Of the men who fly,

Up in the sky...

(Of course, these days, one would include women too, and so I do.)

It was short and sweet and once said, the glasses were raised, and the toast was made.

May they rest in piece and know that our thoughts are with them and the injured ones too.

Thank you,

bbabis 3
Here here!
The novel, and then movie, 'Catch-22' was very loosely based on the B-24 Squadrons in Italy.
Cheers to them!
I'm sure that means nothing to their friends and family. General avation and warfare have zero in common.
bbabis 3
Why should it mean anything less than any other person wishing those affected comfort in their time of loss? Everyone who takes a ride in these historic aircraft do so to get a small feeling of what it felt like for those who went to war in these planes and feel a little closer to them.

As a side note: Many more aircraft were lost in operational and training accidents than were lost in combat in WWII. That is still true today. So this toast rings true to all who fly, not just those in warfare.
Gary Berrian 13
I have been working on vintage aircraft at the NASM museum for the past 16 years. It is very sad to here when one of these old types go down, my heart goes out to the families who have lost love ones.
Greg77FA 6
Very sad. The people who follow these beauties love aviation and their history of these planes. The passion around the planes, and attention to them, is inspiring in these times. So very sad to lose not only a warbird, but the people who love aviation as much as me, and who very much promote it for our younger generations. May they RIP.
Rest in peace and prayers to all who perished on their last flight
Steven Alt 11
Our thoughts are with the crew.
Mark Weiser 5
A real tragedy, one more reminder of the greatest generation is gone. RIP
Allen McNeil 5
British Columbia had a b17 and b25 on display at several airports with flights this summer and sad to hear about a loss of such an important WW2 aircraft.
Frank Lewis 5
I flew on B-17 909 in Feb 2016 out of Boca Raton, Florida. It was a great experience and I am sorry to see her fly into the sunset.
bbabis 13
May all Rest In Peace!
I know there will be calls to stop flying these birds but the remembrance of history and sacrifice must prevail.
Except for the mechanic on the ground, those who perished or were injured were living a dream.
Michael Brown 9
Tragic loss of life on board...very sad. Secondarily, regrettable loss of a great World War II-era aircraft. I flew on that plane several years ago over Hilton Head Island, SC. As a video producer by trade, I recorded the event, added some brief aviation history of the B17s and produced a five minute video on the experience. A link to that is in this post. Sincere condolences to the families of those lost in the crash on Wednesday. Video:
Michael, nice video. So sad for the lives lost and the loss of this irreplaceable relic of our great past.
Michael Brown 2
Thank you, Patrick.
bbabis 7
Well done Michael.
Michael Brown 2
I appreciate the kind words, Bill.
Excellent video, Mike - thanks for the link.
Michael Brown 1
Smitty...thank you.
Joan Williams 4
Rest in peace
Jim Dahl 4
I went up for a one hour flight in that same B-17G in 2005. So sad to hear of this tragedy.
Horrible news of a horrible crash. I flew on Nine-O-Nine many years ago, seen her numerous times, seen her fly over my house a number of times. So sad to see her go and claims the lives of many in the process.
very sad, I was in and around that vintage aircraft the day before the accident
william baker 4
Rest in Peace
Tim Duggan 7
Thank you, Mike, for that. I'm not ashamed to say that I wept at age 62 as a retired airline pilot.
I’d fly on a B-17 in a heart beat, flew on “909” just a couple years back, never thought of my safety on board.
prayers for the family of the PX and Crew - Gonna miss you beautiful old 909
david mabee 3
Flew on that plane morning 4 Nov 2005. Just brought up the pictures I took that morning. I knew it was old when I flew on it but it was a risk I was more than willing to take to, even extremely minimally, see what the WWII crews saw on takeoff and landing. God bless all those that were injured or perished in the crash.
Kerry Hewett 3
May they Rest In Peace for Eternity. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
bettiem 3
Terribly sad for the lives lost and their families. Also distressed about a beautiful aircraft turned to wreckage. I have a soft spot for the Flying Fortress. I'm age 75 and when I was a little child, I lived on the Norfolk coast and B-17s would patrol back and forth along the coast line from Sculthorpe. It contributed to me being a life-long-avgeek. Please try to keep one or two flying so other children can see and hear them, and be inspired. But no passengers and enforce high training and maintenance rules.
a mentor 4
This was the Collins Foundation Nine-O-Nine; sigh
Cory Coyle 4
Sad, lost #4 and tried to continue a right hand pattern. R.I.P
Rex Bentley 3
Lost #4? Right hand pattern? Turning into the dead engine is something you normally don't do, right?
bettiem 2
Oh drat! Why, why why? Must have had controls issues too.
Trust me, turning into a dead outboard engine is not a problem unless airspeed decreases and Vmc comes into play.
lestat30215 2
Due to reopen at 1200LCL/02OCT19. Air-returns in progress.
First coverage we saw of this accident carried initial a/c - tower communications. Shouldn't the tower controller's first response have been helpful directions instead of curiosity?
ynot ssor 2
Total fatalities now 9, according to,P96_FATAL_FLG:03-OCT-19,YES
Chris B 3
Its not looking very good at all.

I saw this aircraft less than two weeks ago when I went up in the B24 Liberator in Plymouth Mass. 10am would have been about the time they would have had paying passengers on the aircraft....
laferrierem 2
10 Passengers I guess. They had been advertising flights on this 17 here and at Barnes on the radio for a week or two now. Just two confirmed, hope the number doesnt rise.
lestat30215 2
N93012 unknown previous owner built 1944
The article not available in my country ???????????
Lambert Fouda 1
Bonjour je souhaiterait que vous ajouter le traducteur en français je pense que sa va nous aider nous les francophone Mercie pour votre bonne compréhension
News said the number four engine is the one pictured in the wreckage of the building. Were the prop blades feathered. Seemed that they might not have been.
bbabis 1
The single blade I can see looks feathered and since it seams undamaged it probably wasn't turning during the accident. Now wether that is the number 4 engine, I don't know.
God give ethernal peace to those lost lives
E. Wolf 1
What was N Number? Was it B-17 once owned by Evergreen?
laferrierem 3
Yeah, this looks like it. :-(
laferrierem 2
N93012 I believe. I have been lucky to see (hear it rumbling first) fly over in 2017.
So SAD..... Not only the loss of 10 people, but also the loss of a very limited and beautiful airframe as well.
Rico van Dijk 0
All links so far posted are not available in Europe, is there any article on a more open minded source? Thanks,
laferrierem 3
The Mirror should work for you. Also, someone has updated the Wikipedia page for 9 0 9.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

bbabis 10
You bring up a good point Austin. But, rather than call it quits, let's attack the problem you have identified. Better knowledge and understanding (training )not more money is the answer to most of today's problems particularly in aviation. Also, I respectfully disagree that a noble historical cause is not the primary purpose of each flight. The fact the crews enjoy it is a benefit of aviation in general. I enjoy my work and to this day I'm amazed I get payed for it.

Blue skies and tailwinds
Austin60 5
We can certainly agree that, as you stated, enjoyment is a side benefit. Even on a bad day, flying for a living beats any other job I held. But you bring up an interesting point, my position was that the corporate knowledge was lost (and I would guess probably peaked during the war). So if the operational knowledge of a huge fleet of aircraft is lost, how can you rebuild it on a tiny (and slowly being destroyed) fleet of aircraft? I'm assuming there is no such thing as a three-axis B-17 sim. So more training would mean more wear and tear, massive expense and likely more loss of life.
With the knowledge loss and the loss of life, airframes long past any intended design life, the handwriting is on the wall. Just like the once "greatest show on earth" now defunct, nothing is constant but change.

bbabis 10
Thanks Austin for your gentlemanly discussion. Good points plus and minus but I surly hope that the great show of the aviators of the greatest generation does go on. Plenty of T-6s and Beech 18s out there to learn and train on. Maintenance and parts also come into the equation but with dedication and volunteer resources those also can be safely carried on.
Austin60 14
Enjoyed the civility, wish the rest of the internet was like this!
joel wiley 6
bettiem 5
Avgeeks and aviators. A classy lot. :)
Perhaps instead of "fly-alongs", these planes can be limited to demonstration flights and static displays. The risk to the general population flying on these is probably too great. I know it's a major funding source for the preservation, but perhaps, a well-financed benefactor(s) can be sought out to bridge the funding gap.
Brian Bishop 5
There are plenty in museums. Keep em flying!
Frank Minich 2
I'd like to see them flying, but eventually there won't be any left flying.
My dad flew the B-26 Martin Marauder in WWII, and there aren't any of them left flying, and only a few in museums.
Bill Harris 1
Hold out hope on the Marauder. Wikipedia claims that Fantasy of Flight's 40-1464 is still airworthy.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Matt Lacey 9
Where do you find the authority to determine what others see as acceptable risk?
joel wiley 7
You are certainly entitled you your opinion. Why limit it to airplanes? You could espouse the same for age limits on automobiles, trains, and even bicycles.
AuggieD 4
These aircraft are better maintained than any commercial aircraft flying today. As far as the pilot goes he passed is FAA Medical and probably has logged many hours in this type of aircraft along with the co-pilot. I would wait until the NTSB official Report is available before condemning the Pilot or the aircraft. News outlets are quick to point fingers at anything that goes wrong before the actual investigation has been completed. I'm waiting for some one-sided news outlet to start a texting rumor for ratings.
Lou Vencl 3
I flew on this aircraft (as a passenger) with the accident pilot (Mac) at the controls a few years ago. The crew was professional and his airman-ship was impeccable. I watched as Mac thoroughly conducted a pre-flight, meticulously checking everything. As a pilot myself, I looked the bird over and it appeared to be in excellent shape. I had no problems with taking flight in this aircraft. The engines looked like all four had just been overhauled and installed, very clean. Taking off and in the air they really took care of the aircraft and on landing, we touched down so smoothly that I did not realize that we were on deck until the tail started lowering. Impressive! I have read a few articles since the accident which have stated that he was totally immersed in that aircraft. I do not agree with your logic with reference to the age of either.

Accidents will happen. In this case it was a mechanical issue and from what I have read, number 4 was shutdown due to a problem. The aircraft was heavy with fuel and hardly climbing. Low and slow the crew elected to immediately return for a 3 engine landing. Touching down just short of the threshold of rwy 06, they clipped the ILS transmitter which caused the aircraft to veer into the deicing pad/buildings. Looks like they made it back to the field but ran out of airspeed and altitude.
THAT's what keeps them flying sir ... sorry the safer then a 37 MAX now. still
Bob Hackney 0
It is hard to believe that ANYONE survived that crash!!!


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