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B17 crash at Bradley

Old 31st Mar 2020, 00:47
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But, at what point do you start drilling rivets and removing panels to inspect structural components within the wing for corrosion or fatigue, where the need for inspection plates may not have been anticipated given the operational life expectancy?
Happily, using the Basler converted DC-3 as an example, the wings are structurally entirely either inspected or rebuilt, as well as lots of other structure. None of these planes was designed to last this long, and happily, the authorities have imposed aging aircraft inspections which are very effective. That said, the creation of those inspection programs is costly, and unlikely to be worth the effort for uncommon types (like a B-17). Though I have zero experience with the B-17, I have come to understand that WW2 military aircraft were built to fight, not last. For the work I did on the Bristol Bolingbroke, it was plainly evident that that plane was not built with corrosion resistance in mind, and why would it be? If it lasted the war, that was enough! Perhaps the B-17 was built with longevity in mind, I don't know. But, it is certain that it was not built with longevity into 202 in mind! The maintenance regime to maintain airworthiness ramps up as age increases, and at some point, maintaining the plane to "commercial" standards is no longer cost effective. That, is for the market to decide, but it is not up for quality compromise....
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 00:56
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR
Happily, using the Basler converted DC-3 as an example, the wings are structurally entirely either inspected or rebuilt, as well as lots of other structure. None of these planes was designed to last this long, and happily, the authorities have imposed aging aircraft inspections which are very effective. That said, the creation of those inspection programs is costly, and unlikely to be worth the effort for uncommon types (like a B-17). Though I have zero experience with the B-17, I have come to understand that WW2 military aircraft were built to fight, not last. For the work I did on the Bristol Bolingbroke, it was plainly evident that that plane was not built with corrosion resistance in mind, and why would it be? If it lasted the war, that was enough! Perhaps the B-17 was built with longevity in mind, I don't know. But, it is certain that it was not built with longevity into 202 in mind! The maintenance regime to maintain airworthiness ramps up as age increases, and at some point, maintaining the plane to "commercial" standards is no longer cost effective. That, is for the market to decide, but it is not up for quality compromise....
And that's what makes the basic engine maintenance questions even more puzzling. I've watched the Collings planes overhead my house for decades as they flew for rides. Going to miss that if it goes away.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 01:34
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Originally Posted by etudiant
So I suspect that there was not enough money to do more and that the flights were aimed at generating the essential revenue to keep the endeavor afloat. So the maintenance chief squeezes the spending to cut costs, because he too wants the enterprise to survive. Here that killed him, along with other people.
Setting spark plug gaps correctly costs very little if using volunteer labour, as Collings does.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 15:15
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Originally Posted by marchino61
Setting spark plug gaps correctly costs very little if using volunteer labour, as Collings does.
Absolutely true, it suggests the volunteers did not know what they were supposed to do.
Given that car engines are no longer made for easy user maintenance, I suspect that no one remembered that spark plugs need gapping.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 16:50
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Originally Posted by etudiant
Absolutely true, it suggests the volunteers did not know what they were supposed to do.
Given that car engines are no longer made for easy user maintenance, I suspect that no one remembered that spark plugs need gapping.
Good one , but I can read this differently : in the normal 50 or 100h maintenance checks ( whatever the sequence is on a B17, I have no idea) but should be around that , and as in almost every North american engines , you do not re-gap spark-plugs , you just change them during those checks..Or is it differently on the B17?
If not, then out of tolerance gaps would indicated they had not been changed, so someone did not do the work .. and it would be interesting to know if the log book indicated the previous 50/100 hours check had been performed an aircraft signed off for release.

But the mags wire is an another indication that the guys doing engine maintenance we already high on short cuts ...
Regarding engine 4, to prevent the magneto “P” leads from separating from the magnetos, someone had attempted to rig the magneto leads in place with safety wire. Inspection and testing of engine 4 left magneto revealed the movement of the safety-wired lead caused grounding to the case, which rendered the magneto lead inoperative.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 18:21
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The idea of using safety wire to secure spark plug leads would suggest that maintenance is being carried out by someone without any aviation background. A complete no no.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 20:18
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someone had attempted to rig the magneto leads in place with safety wire.
Which would be a modification, which it would seem had no approval..... That's not an error or omission, but rather a deliberate act. A maintenance program conducted in accordance with a safety management system should catch such acts, and investigate their compliance.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 00:59
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as in almost every North american engines , you do not re-gap spark-plugs , you just change them during those checks..Or is it differently on the B17
Well, some one better tell the FAA FAR 43, Appendix A, (c), (20) states "Replacing or cleaning spark plugs and setting of spark plug gap clearance" as part of preventative maintenance. The famed Len Morgan of Braniff, besides his aviation publishing business, ran a side line in cleaning and gapping his airlines plugs back in the day.

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...117.a&rgn=div9
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 06:49
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Originally Posted by megan
Well, some one better tell the FAA FAR 43, Appendix A, (c), (20) states "Replacing or cleaning spark plugs and setting of spark plug gap clearance" as part of preventative maintenance. The famed Len Morgan of Braniff, besides his aviation publishing business, ran a side line in cleaning and gapping his airlines plugs back in the day.
My bad. Someone with more knowledge on maintenance that I do told me on the Radials P&W one rotate the plugs and check gaps indeed on the periodic maintenance.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 16:04
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FWIW: To give some context to this discussion, while the Collings FAA LHFE exemption required various documents and programs, like an SMS program, it was still basically a Part 91 private operation. So any comparison to a 135 or 121 culture would be amiss. Since the aircraft are operated on a Special Airworthiness Certificate, the specific FAA exemption document details the operational and maintenance limitations for the operation in general and for each aircraft. So there is no lack of specific FAA rules and guidance.

Having volunteered at a number of similar operations as an A&P over past years, to include the CAF in its heyday, I found each one to be different “culturally.” And while I’ll wait for the factual NTSB report docket to be fully released before making specific comments, I think if one were to predispose themselves to view this accident from the vantage point of this is an old and unique personal aircraft, whose pilot was one of the most experienced in the world, and who also performed/signed off most of the maintenance, I believe some of the “why” questions may be answered easier than trying to compare this situation to a regimented for-hire operator with “rogue” mechanics running around.

And for those who had questioned, this aircraft was inspected under an FAA approved inspection program which I believe consisted of an Annual inspection with various scheduled inspections in between the 12 month Annual requirement and it was maintained per B-17 military documents. I think the actual FAA exemption documents that list these requirements are still available on the FAA or similar website.
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Old 2nd Apr 2020, 01:12
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on the Radials P&W
Hi ATC, it may very well be that your friend was in an operation that didn't have the facilities immediately available for cleaning and re gapping, perhaps his plugs went to a dedicated facility, and returned to stores, so as far as he was concerned he was installing "new" plugs, have a read of the link. BTW, the B-17 uses Wright Cyclones rather than P&W, the latter was on the B-24.

https://www.aviationpros.com/home/ar...on-spark-plugs
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 11:24
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NTSB Accident Docket posted online:

NTSB Docket - Docket Management System
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 12:32
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Suspicions confirmed about the lack of safety briefings in this deadly amateurish 'living history' pax operation.




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Old 10th Dec 2020, 15:47
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On thing I do to meet my own personal standards, as well as regulatory requirements, is following the safety briefing I give my passengers (GA flying), I look at them, and ask them if they have any questions, and, I wait for their answer.

The written report of the passenger casts an already non standard operation to look less good. For those times I've been flying a non standard airplane (like cabin survey equipment installed, which could impede exit, I've been extra vigilant to assure everyone aboard was comfortable with their personal exit plan.

Speaking of seat belts, some very old designs (found on Cessnas of the 1950's vintage) were simply aluminum cam buckle, which engaged the webbing of the other lap belt directly, with no second (metal to metal) buckle tang. I hope these are not the "old military" that the passenger describes. That type of cam on webbing were AD'd out of all Canadian airplanes decades ago. Not only were they very hard to open if they had sustained a load, they were impossible to open if they had sustained a load and were, or got wet, or you were hanging from the lap belt.

Yes, passengers bear some responsibility for understanding a briefing, or asking for clarification, and thereafter doing as briefed, but they are always entitled to a briefing, and opportunity to ask questions they may have. Any pilot who does not assure this has taken place makes us all look bad.
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 17:42
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I flew with Collings 10 months before the accident, I flew in 909 plus the B24/25 and Mustang. I received a fairly comprehensive briefing before each flight but then I fly and have a good grounding in aviation so to the general public it might not have been so comprehensive? The seat belts were the old buckle type which I guess could be hard to use to some. Seats in the back of the B17 & B24 were non-existent purely seating on floor backs against bulkhead or side wall with seat belts fixed to floor. Over the two days I flew I had the time of my life! After the accident Mrs 10D grounded my war bird activity! She is warming to me doing a Spitfire flight though!! I had plans in my retirement of volunteering with Collings each year as I was so impressed by the operation! I was shocked mind you to hear that 909 had been grounded the day after my flight with an engine change needed!
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 18:41
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Indeed - I flew on the accident aircraft about 12 years ago when it was at Paine Field. Like DME, most of us sat in the back with old style seat belts attached to the floor (a couple lucky ones sat up in the front where the bombardier would have been). We were given a safety briefing before boarding, then a brief 'how to exit' briefing after we boarded.

When I signed the release, I was told that I was signing a release - when I was racing we had to sign those all the time so it was not unexpected or surprising.

Sadly, it sounds if Collins procedures went down hill prior to the accident.
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Old 10th Dec 2020, 21:38
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Sad to say ,but had he said MAYDAY after the turn East,and gone for #33 it would have been OK...POSSIBLY...There was no way to make it back after lowering the gear,with 2 engines out ,on the `inside` of the circuit.......

or turned left after t/o and gone for a 180,or to #13...
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Old 12th Dec 2020, 03:25
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Well, I guess one good thing for Collins Foundation is that the bad news from this accident investigation is now hidden in this little known sub-forum where few on PPRuNe will see it.

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Old 13th Dec 2020, 01:05
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Its had 391,937 views bubba, so it's not all doom and gloom.
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Old 13th Dec 2020, 02:38
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now hidden in this little known sub-forum where few on PPRuNe will see it.
I'm kinda proud of this sub forum, the PPRuNe team added it because I made the case for it! 'Seems to me to have worked out okay....
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