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B17 crash at Bradley

Old 3rd Oct 2019, 06:31
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
Last year at an airshow my wife wanted to buy me a ride on one of these warbirds but I declined. Early in my aviation career I was nearly killed by a P-51 that cartwheeled on landing in a crosswind. I was standing on the ramp and the prop broke off and went in front of me, the fuselage slid behind me inverted and started to burn. We were unable to rescue the two occupants. The backseater was a spectator who came out to the airport and was offered a free ride by the owner. I would have taken the ride if it was offered to me that day.

Are these warbirds in the experimental category? Is there a B-17 type rating even though there was never a civilian version (e.g. the C-130 and the L-382)? Are these rides Part 91? Or are they something else since money changes hands? Are they like the shoe selfie helo rides or are they more regulated?

I'm guessing that there is no requirement for a CVR or FDR even though the plane carries 10 paying pax, has four engines and weighs over 40,000 pounds.
Juan Browne (blancolirio) has a video on this crash, and explains that these warbirds fly under a Living History Flight Experience LHFE category: https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...-conducted-for
The LHFE policy provided a way for the private owner/operators of historically significant, American-manufactured large, crew-served, piston-powered, multi-engine, World War II bomber aircraft to conduct limited passenger carrying flights, for compensation, as a way to generate funds needed to maintain and preserve these historically significant aircraft for future generations.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 06:57
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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In a different country but nevertheless it may be of some interest...

Some years ago I was involved in an operation that offered rides to the general public in a WW2 C-47. Many of the people involved concurrently worked for world-renown carriers and so the pilots, the flight training, and also the maintenance guys all knew their stuff.

'Our' operation was in fact run as any airline would run; it required, and obtained with not some little effort, a full Operating Certificate as required by law and thus we were measured against the necessary standard for such operation.

Thus while you could posit that there could be increased risk in operating an elderly aircraft on line nevertheless we went to great lengths to ensure as best as able that the machine was operated as it should be, and maintained to the highest possible standard. While this could obviously not guarantee there would be no issues we felt the risk was mitigated as much as possible, at the same time as providing the public a rare opportunity to experience flying 'as it was'.

Along with the first class maintenance and pilot crew, our cabin staff were also first class. Although I no longer recall our passenger briefings exactly, I'm sure they were also of a much higher standard than you might get at a circus ferris-wheel or some other such thing that - to my mind - involves just as great a level of risk to the public, or possibly more. IOW while I'm not attempting to compare these things directly I am suggesting that we all take risks in life, and that to shut down all classic a/c flying due to a perceived high risk of failure seems to me a singularly uninformed and rather knee-jerk reaction to this terrible accident.

With specific regard to this tragedy I note that during the course of our operation we had two engine failures (R-1830 twin wasps), one of which was in-flight and was handled calmly and competently by the crew of the day - as we would expect because it was something we trained for extensively. After all it's a not uncommon thing to expect in any such a/c, even when they were new! I would imagine that the pilots on this machine also trained for such events and so whatever happened here may well turn out to be more than 'just' a simple engine failure. More likely it will be a series of things that, both tragically and hopefully, we will be able to learn from and help further mitigate the risk of flying such machines in the future.

FP.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 07:03
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GordonR_Cape View Post
Juan Browne (blancolirio) has a video on this crash, and explains that these warbirds fly under a Living History Flight Experience LHFE category: https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...-conducted-for
Thanks GordonR_Cape, that answers some of my questions. I haven't been around general aviation much in recent years and didn't know that this category existed.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 07:18
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by First_Principal View Post
In a different country but nevertheless it may be of some interest...

Some years ago I was involved in an operation that offered rides to the general public in a WW2 C-47. Many of the people involved concurrently worked for world-renown carriers and so the pilots, the flight training, and also the maintenance guys all knew their stuff.
I'm assuming that was also the case with these folks in BDL but that recent fatal Convair 340 crash in South Africa raised some doubts in my mind about these historic aircraft operations. According to the accident report the pilots weren't properly licensed for the 'maintenance test flight with passengers' and did no checklists for an engine on fire. And they were supposedly senior instructor pilots for a 'world renown carrier'.

Even if there was no CVR or FDR, perhaps there is video from inside the plane on the GoPros or phones of the survivors as with the South Africa mishap.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 07:28
  #65 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
I'm assuming that was also the case with these folks in BDL but that recent fatal Convair 340 crash in South Africa raised some doubts in my mind about these historic aircraft operations. According to the accident report the pilots weren't properly licensed for the 'maintenance test flight with passengers' and did no checklists for an engine on fire. And they were supposedly senior instructor pilots for a 'world renown carrier'.

Even if there was no CVR or FDR, perhaps there is video from inside the plane on the GoPros or phones of the survivors as with the South Africa mishap.
from what I've read, I doubt "well maintained" could be used to describe the Convair's condition!
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 07:40
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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All the surviving B17s worked as fire bombers for much longer than their military service, so I expect that there is a civilian rating for them.

The SA Convair was being positioned to a museum but had been operated as a normal pax op (I assume charter) up to the time of the attempted delivery.

Wunwing
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 08:16
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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​​​​I flew 909 as a pilot in ‘86 and early ‘87. It blew an engine at my then home airport (CYXU) after an airshow. My regional gave them hangar space and tech support to sling the replacement, after which they offered to check me out, since they needed another pilot and I had lots of big round engine time. (As a result I have that type rating on that (now unused) ATPL. I was able to fly 909 in four airshows and a several ferry flights back then. I flew with Ed Lawler, an ex-Pan Am pilot and ex-Grumman test pilot in WWII.

We used to dine at the airshow performer's bbq on Friday night in some hangar, burgers and corn on the cob. Blue Angels and Bob Hoover and USMC Harrier pilots and F-15 guys and little old us. New mown grass, Pitts Specials, Jungmeisters , Wacos and that Shrike cooling on the flight line, P-51’s and other hot singles. Going home day, Monday morning all the private guys in their -51’s and Texans wanted to fly formation with us. It was a bit fraught, because we could not evade anyone at 120 kts. We had to rely on the crew chief training the upper turret .50’s at them to promote some psychological spacing. It always worked,

The B-17 is hardly a complex aircraft: it pretty much is like any 1930’s design. If you can fly a DC-3 or Twin Beech you can pretty much fly a B-17. When I flew it there were additional oil pressure gauges mounted inboard of each nacelle, and there was a fetish about checking them every few seconds...unlike anything I ever felt flying any other radial engine aircraft*

* by the time your brain registers zero oil pressure it’s probably already too late.

One thing that bothered me back then was the free fuel that airshows provided, which always meant full tanks. We operated with the complete 1945 kit, including all guns and full bomb racks. The bombs were hollow, and the .50 belts had no powder, but it still added up to about the civil maximum weight for most departures.

Like most aircraft of that era, the B-17 was only marginal on all engines...on three with a full load it would be a handful.

All day today I have been drifting back to memories of the dedicated crews and enthralled airshow patrons that I met during those two summers. I can think of few things finer than a chance to demonstrate America’s legacy, both technically and as an icon of freedom. The prospect of doing that on fine Indian summer weekend in New England, the birthplace of American patriotism, would have been all too real to anyone so lucky to fly those planes of the greatest generation. Deeply saddened.

On edit: “Twin Beech” means what it always did: Beechcraft 18

Last edited by Australopithecus; 3rd Oct 2019 at 09:13. Reason: clarification by removing typo
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 09:39
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Australopithecus View Post
​​​​I flew 909 as a pilot in ‘86 and early ‘87. It blew an engine at my then home airport (CYXU) after an airshow. My regional gave them hangar space and tech support to sling the replacement, after which they offered to check me out, since they needed another pilot and I had lots of big round engine time. (As a result I have that type rating on that (now unused) ATPL. I was able to fly 909 in four airshows and a several ferry flights back then. I flew with Ed Lawler, an ex-Pan Am pilot and ex-Grumman test pilot in WWII.

We used to dine at the airshow performer's bbq on Friday night in some hangar, burgers and corn on the cob. Blue Angels and Bob Hoover and USMC Harrier pilots and F-15 guys and little old us. New mown grass, Pitts Specials, Jungmeisters , Wacos and that Shrike cooling on the flight line, P-51’s and other hot singles. Going home day, Monday morning all the private guys in their -51’s and Texans wanted to fly formation with us. It was a bit fraught, because we could not evade anyone at 120 kts. We had to rely on the crew chief training the upper turret .50’s at them to promote some psychological spacing. It always worked,

The B-17 is hardly a complex aircraft: it pretty much is like any 1930’s design. If you can fly a DC-3 or Twin Beech you can pretty much fly a B-17. When I flew it there were additional oil pressure gauges mounted inboard of each nacelle, and there was a fetish about checking them every few seconds...unlike anything I ever felt flying any other radial engine aircraft*

* by the time your brain registers zero oil pressure it’s probably already too late.

One thing that bothered me back then was the free fuel that airshows provided, which always meant full tanks. We operated with the complete 1945 kit, including all guns and full bomb racks. The bombs were hollow, and the .50 belts had no powder, but it still added up to about the civil maximum weight for most departures.

Like most aircraft of that era, the B-17 was only marginal on all engines...on three with a full load it would be a handful.

All day today I have been drifting back to memories of the dedicated crews and enthralled airshow patrons that I met during those two summers. I can think of few things finer than a chance to demonstrate America’s legacy, both technically and as an icon of freedom. The prospect of doing that on fine Indian summer weekend in New England, the birthplace of American patriotism, would have been all too real to anyone so lucky to fly those planes of the greatest generation. Deeply saddened.On edit: “Twin Beech” means what it always did: Beechcraft 18
Beautifully written - poignant and moving. Thank you.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 09:48
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Wunwing View Post
All the surviving B17s worked as fire bombers for much longer than their military service, so I expect that there is a civilian rating for them.

The SA Convair was being positioned to a museum but had been operated as a normal pax op (I assume charter) up to the time of the attempted delivery.

Wunwing
yes indeed there is.."B-17"...most are restricted to VFR only
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 10:37
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I just dug my 8th Air Force patch from my box o’ memories...and some Kodak prints from back in the day. The first time I flew it we transited the Erie, PA control zone. The tower was a tad confused at the “Boeing 93012” call sign and the 120 kt cruise speed, much slower than Vr in any Boeing of recent experience. Do that at 2000’ and you can actually (almost) see people look up in wonder. We certainly were looking down with our share of amazement, and wondered at how much courage it took to drive a load of bombs through 88 flack and fighters in broad daylight in a herd of planes slower than your mom’s (Ford) mustang.

RIP, brothers.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 13:43
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There is a rumor in another forum that the plane may have been fueled with Jet A, either directly or that the truck had been misfueled.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 14:20
  #72 (permalink)  
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There is a civil rating for them . France IGN used up to 14 of them between 1950 and 1990 to do mapping and , aerial photography and microwave imagery (for through clouds millimeter definition images ) . All this now done by Satellites
I flew in them a few times as pax on some missions in the 80's . The crew were all civil with a B17 rating and all flew IFR.
On one flight we blew up an engine during a steep descent in Creil ,( near Paris) , not shut down because still producing some residual power , but to my surprise this was treated like a "normal " problem and the aircraft landed normally On the ground the engine and wings had oil all over everywhere, but that did not seem to bother the crew , I remember it vividly as on the aircraft I was flying at the time that would have been a huge issue/emergency issue, but here the mechanic replied, " war technology" no problem" ..
If indeed the 909 lost an engine on approach , I do not think it is the reason for this accident. Now if on fire, explosion affecting control surfaces or cables that is of course another story. But engine out on landing as said a few times already here, should not lead to this...
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 14:24
  #73 (permalink)  
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Thank you Australopithecus for the "I've flown it" perspective, that's rare and valuable for the less common types. We must remind ourselves that no matter how well serving these planes were, they were designed and built for a purpose other than passenger transport by today's standards. That's not a judgement on the pilots who fly them, or the people who would like to pay to ride, we just have to all acknowledge that they're different, and decide if we're okay with that. If we're uncomfortable to fly in one because of the differences we understand, that's okay, but we must respect those people who are eager to preserve and present these historic aircraft. Last spring I donated a number of days, and solicited volunteers to pack and ship a Lancaster for restoration. Whether it'll fly again, I don't know, but I felt pretty good doing my part to keep a piece of history in the public eye one way or another!
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 14:41
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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In Europe, this kind of flying has basically died with the 20 Ju Passengers up in the Alps, the consequence was that almost all the old planes in the German speaking area are now if lucky museum exhibits. Crashes like this one will unfortunately bring a lot of people out of their holes who will try to use this horrible accident to pursue their own agenda.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 14:59
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CNN now reporting 7 dead, 6 injured :-(

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/us/co...rnd/index.html
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 15:05
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
There is a civil rating for them . France IGN used up to 14 of them between 1950 and 1990 to do mapping and , aerial photography and microwave imagery (for through clouds millimeter definition images ) . All this now done by Satellites
I flew in them a few times as pax on some missions in the 80's . The crew were all civil with a B17 rating and all flew IFR.
From a post on another forum:

Heres some interesting trivia for you. A B17 was used in the filming of the movie and was named (appropriatley) as "Doctor Strangelove"

In several shots of the B-52 flying over the polar ice en route to Russia, the shadow of the actual camera plane, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, is visible on the snow below. The B-52 was a model composited into the arctic footage which was sped up to create a (quite unconvincing) sense of jet speed. The camera ship, a former USAAF B-17G-100-VE, serial 44-85643, registered F-BEEA, had been one of four Flying Forts purchased from salvage at Altus, Oklahoma in December 1947 by the French Institut Geographique National and converted for survey and photo-mapping duty. It was the last active B-17 of a total of fourteen once operated by the IGN, but it was destroyed in a take-off accident at RAF Binbrook in 1989 during filming of the movie "Memphis Belle." Home movie footage included in "Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove" on the 2001 Special Edition DVD release of the film show clips of the Fortress with a cursive "Dr. Strangelove" painted over the rear entry hatch on the right side of the fuselage.


https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/thread...2/#post-148908




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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 15:26
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Thanks for that - one of the greatest movies of all time (dodgy models notwithstanding)!
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 15:39
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ATC in times of distress

Originally Posted by India Four Two View Post
I’ve just listened to the Live ATC audio.
http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kb...2019-1330Z.mp3

18:41 “We would like to return to the field.”
22:40 Crash alarm in the background.

Another example of a pilot reluctant to declare an emergency. Why is that?
The controller has to drag information out of the pilot.

“You said an immediate landing?”
”When you get a chance, yeah.”

”Do you need to be on the ground right now?”
”If possible.”


With respect, and a conversation I've had with our fine ATC colleagues offline; relaying details OF any emergency is third on a list of the one thing I care about. Flying the airplane. ATC have a tendency to get very inquisitive and often we don't have time to relay multiple requests for the same information.
In the immediate vsh of the departure airfield ATC are perfectly capable of looking out of the window and exercising their judgment without taking valuable attention of a crew likely (likely in this sad case) to be working at their capacity.)
I was flying in the NE yesterday afternoon and there certainly was wide awareness over the radio of Bradley being mostly closed.
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 15:58
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Australopithecus

"We had to rely on the crew chief training the upper turret .50’s at them to promote some psychological spacing. It always worked"
That, sir, is some excellent phrasing. Is it too late for you to start a career as a writer?
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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 16:10
  #80 (permalink)  
 
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Obviously saddened

I snapped a picture of the plane at 8:20 am, a couple of hours before the crash, as we taxied out for takeoff on my way to California. We had a bunch of aviation flying club members on my flight to SNF but at that time while in flight we had no idea of the disaster. I'll have to wait to find out if any of my friends were aboard, but so far no phone calls

I'm with TD, but nothing more to offer
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