B-17 Down at Bradley Int'l Airport

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by TFulwider, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Jamie Kirk

    Jamie Kirk Line Up and Wait

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  2. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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  3. Gary Austin

    Gary Austin Pre-Flight

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    See where they were right downwind for runway 6, with two feathered on the side they were turning into was not a good position to be in, long ago and far, far away I flew co-pilot on a B-17 fighting forest fires, then typed in a PB4Y-2, RIP people
     
  4. Kenny Phillips

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  5. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Since this is PoA, I will ask a speculative question. They were only at 500’ when this problem started. Would they have been better off landing off field or on one of the other runways?
     
  6. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In hindsight, they would have been better off doing a teardrop and landing on 33 rather than downwind for 6. BUT, that is based on hindsight that we have knowing the ultimate outcome.

    Based on the initial radio transmissions, I do not believe they perceived the problem to be that dire to require such an drastic return and I suspect that the vast majority of us would have accepted or even intentionally planned for the downwind to 6 initially.

    When they initially asked Departure to return, they thought they had a minor issue with number four. SOMETHING happened to the number three along the way to drastically complicate the situation and I believe that developed/became apparent after they already turned onto the downwind.
     
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  7. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Yes, if it wasn’t fuel (which it does not appear it was), what are the odds of two engines failing on one side. Seems like extremely bad luck. Engines 3 and 4 were apparently at different hours SMOH.
     
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Or the wrong handle was pulled. We don’t know.
     
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wondered this too, so I pulled it up on Google earth.... doesn't look like any options. Best shot probably would've been the other runway, but we don't know at what point they lost the second engine.
     
  10. RyanShort1

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    IF they had a tailwind and the radar track is close to accurate they might not been much above stalling speed and not wanted to go into a steeper bank...
     
  11. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  12. PeterNSteinmetz

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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Jury rigged magneto that had stopped working. Why do aviators continue to do things like this?

    Edit: Engine 4: Left magneto jury rigged with safety wire to prevent p-lead from falling off. Jury rigged safety wire had moved and shorted out the left magneto. The right magneto was found unserviceable, the follower cam was worn and the gap was less than half the measurement required. It produced weak or no spark to 4 of 9 cylinders. The plugs were fouled and gaps out of tolerance. The engine showed signs of detonation.

    Engine 3, all plug gaps were out of tolerance and fouled. There was evidence of detonation and the cylinders had "problems".

    This is terrible, Collins has a lot of explaining to do.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  14. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow. :eek:
     
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  15. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Collings.
     
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  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Prelim is out and FAA revoked their passenger status.

    Doesn’t look good for them. Lots of stuff pointing to not maintaining the aircraft to standards and shrugging it off.

    Mags jury rigged, plugs fouled and gapped improperly, maintenance records wrong or falsified, training a disaster and informal.

    Just a mess.

    I know these old machines are cantankerous beasts and flew with less love and care in wartime, but duct tape and bailing wire stuff in passenger ops isn’t going to fly, literally, with a modem FAA.

    Unfortunately that’s going to mean more get parked. Maintenance is expensive. Training is expensive.

    Sad they found the professionalism needed, just wasn’t there.

    Will be honest here, some of the accused are dead and unable to defend their decisions. So... for wherever that’s worth.

    But a big message sent. FAA ain’t happy and their misgivings about these flights just got justified.

    Gotta do better than this.
     
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  17. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    75B4C155-876C-4DC6-A8E3-99DF93FA135A.jpeg Yes, sounds rather messy. I harken back to that picture of the aircraft in the lone tree, middle of the field. Condolences to all involved.
     
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  18. Kenny Phillips

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    On the one hand, this really ****es me off; I know several people who have flown on that plane. On the other hand, the FAA could just simply not renew the exemption, as the previous one wouldn't be used before it expired in a week: "The undersigned finds that allowing Exemption No. 6540P to continue in effect until its previously established March 31, 2020 ..."
    So either someone wanted to send a message, or they wanted to puff up their chest and show that they were doing their job.
     
  19. benyflyguy

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    I was on that plane a few years ago. Thought about taking my kids this year when they come th KHZL. I get it old things break and a structural failure of some type I would accept. But shoddy bush maintenance is completely unacceptable for the working budget they have. Ground them pending review of all aircraft. Wonder what else they’ll find.
     
  20. Kenny Phillips

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    They were already grounded, and it's possible they'll never fly a paying passenger again.
     
  21. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The warbird movement used to be the wild west. The value of the aircraft has increased so much in recent years that most owners take really good care of the big ticket hardware. Beyond that, the culture in the warbird movement has really improved regarding maintenance and safety. It surprises me that Collings <apparently> isn't at the forefront of that culture.

    I know I saw stuff 20-30 years ago that was cringeworthy. There was a local P-51 that was mostly maintained by its pilot/owner. I swung through his hangar one day and there was oil everywhere. He'd blown a hose to the oil cooler and dumped most or all of the oil from the Merlin while on a local flight. I asked him when the last time was he replaced that hose. He thought it was original from when the airplane was built in 1945. I asked if the engine was damaged, and he wasn't sure. That airplane sold relatively soon afterwards, probably because catching up on the deferred maintenance was more than the owner could afford. The airplane is now in very good hands and has been gone over with a fine tooth comb.
     
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  22. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Between this FAA order, the insurance and the inevitable lawsuits, I predict that this is the end of Collings. I suspect the fleet will be for sale shortly.
     
  23. Kenny Phillips

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    I'd think that the insurance alone would ground them, given that it will cost eight figures to settle this.
     
  24. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    This is really disturbing to me, talk about a complete violation of trust. Stuff like this starts in little baby steps, and I'm willing to bet that there have been many different people in these positions through out the years. Unless someone knows something different, I'm not saying the people involved are bad people, but someone had to know this wasn't good, these accident chains need to be broken and this aircraft was an accident waiting to happen. Even reading the initial account, where the engine (s) wouldn't start because it was wet, and the intimation that this was an ongoing problem, where they has a process to deal with it, I thought WTF, fix the problem. We as the GA community need to be better than this.
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I realized that in short order and deleted it so people wouldn't get confused (as I had).
     
  26. hindsight2020

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    What's this "We" business? Heall naw. Don't lump me with those elitists and their grifty exemptions-to-policy. People who operate under the privilege of halo effect to have their niche playpen subsidized, deserve everything they have coming to them. The collateral damage to the pax is a damn tragedy. FAA made the right call imo, EZ-bake softball as it was.
     
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  27. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I said "we" because this stuff is insidious, even well meaning pilots have to be vigilant about it and it can happen in everything we do. Now this case, the crash at Bradley is over the top and is probably criminal, but I leave that to the investigators.
     
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  28. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At the 10,000 foot level, remember that the FAA is under fire for the Boeing Max debacle. It would not surprise me if the orders are "be very tough on everyone", no waivers, no favors. Where they might have ordered "corrective action" in the past, now it's "shut 'em down".

    I'll agree that the report makes Collings look pretty bad and that a shutdown may very well be warranted (we see only the facts the FAA wants us to see), but the is no denying that the FAA is under fire these days.

    My opinion only, YMMV.
     
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  29. 3393RP

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    What a shame. The Wings of Freedom flights were a vehicle that educated generations about the role these aircraft played in our nation's history. I'm astounded at the findings of the investigation. The costs associated with operating the Collings fleet must have been huge, yet I have to believe incorporating a proper maintenance regimen with the requisite documentation wouldn't have increased those costs prohibitively. This is terrible.

    I have flown on all three of the Collings bombers, and my observations of first morning and between flight maintenance actions suggested a regimen that was well established and competently executed.

    That, of course, means exactly nothing, when we're discussing a 75 year old four engine bomber. The plane required hours and hours of maintenance to fly safely, and it appears those hours were left undone. Regarding my personal safety when flying in Nine-O-Nine, I considered the obvious. It was a four engine aircraft with an experienced crew. I had no doubt that if it lost an engine in flight, the crew would feather it and proceed with an uneventful landing. I never contemplated the implications of a dual engine failure on the same side.

    Last year, when this accident occurred and the thread was started, I posted about my 2008 experience of meeting a former B-17 pilot while standing in front of Nine-O-Nine, early on a bright summer morning. It was a special thing, a link between me and the men that manned the planes of the Mighty 8th.

    It was these men, like twenty three year old Austin Rinne, that climbed aboard time after time, during the dark days of no fighter escort and the ascendent Luftwaffe.

    With no more than four hundred hours of training, the inexperienced pilots and crews faced other young men, but their opponents had more experience and flew machines that gave them the ability to destroy the bombers and kill the airmen. The bomber crews knew this, but they still crossed the English Channel time after time.

    So I'm sad the Wings of Freedom tours are no more. I'm sad the operators of the bombers knew better, but they risked the lives of innocent passengers anyway. I'm sad that the men who bravely flew Nine-O-Nine and other aircraft like her into combat are now but a few, and the memory of their brave deeds and the machines they flew are fast fading away.

    For those that might not have read it, I'm again posting my experience of meeting Austin Rinne on the ramp at Dallas Love Field, standing in the shadow of the Mighty Flying Fortress.

     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
  30. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, well they lost another plane (B-26) when the engine failed and they weren't able to feather an engine after failure. Fortunately no passengers on that one. They also dropped a Corsair into the Atlantic after the pilot failed to check that he had enough fuel to make the flight.
     
  31. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

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    Robert Collings was the pilot on the Corsair. How do you forget to fuel a plane?!
     
  32. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    From the NTSB: The pilot stated that during his preflight inspection of the airplane the fuel gauges indicated 120 gallons. He visually checked the fuel tank; however, he did not stick the fuel tank.
    I never look at the gauges, and always stick the tanks, 'cuz coasting in for a landing with no chance of a go-around isn't wanted in my repertoire.
     
  33. Hunt-man

    Hunt-man Pre-Flight

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    Are part available for the old warbirds?
    Were they cutting corners due to parts or just cutting corners?
     
  34. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I have to assume spark plugs and gapping them properly can’t be too hard to come by.

    The jury rigged magneto sounds like something people would do if those are scarce, but unacceptable.

    I read a summary that indicated other maintenance records were being pencil whipped also but haven’t had time to study the details of that, if it’s in the preliminary report.

    Makes me think the final is going to look ugly with full details when FAA revokes the certificate hard like that.
     
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  35. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There's no "certificate" here. They were operating under an exception to the rules. The time was up anyhow. Rescinding the exception was sort of an odd double whammy because it expired three days before the letter of rescission. The letter already denied the renewal.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Ahh right. Thanks.
     
  37. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The whole thing with that crash sucks.. and this doesn't help make the loss any better

    I doubt the operators had a negligent intent, this plane was also their pride and baby, and they had, parts and dollars allowing, likely every intention to fly this as safely as possible. There was also probably a lot of tribal "wiggle it like this to get it started" type knowledge. And like noted above, some of the people aren't alive to defend themselves

    Sucks all around
     
  38. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    That is the problem unfortunately. We are not talking about hot start methods here or priming rituals, where people have different ideas. This was pencil whipping inspections, and running with known defective, deadly actually, equipment. I'm sure the people involved are/were die hard aviation enthusiasts and obviously eternal optimists, but this behavior needs to be called out and stopped.

    It's bad enough if it's a personal aircraft where only the aviator is in danger, but this aircraft was flying paying passengers. Yes, there is inherent risk flying antique aircraft, but the people flying and maintaining these aircraft are absolutely responsible for making sure that these aircraft are in top condition before taking passengers up. Flying with an engine that has one jury rigged mag and the other mag essentially in op is inexcusable. Sorry, if you can't afford to maintain it properly, it should be grounded, period.
     
  39. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Unfortunately, that's the truth.. and accidents like this will lead to stricter guidelines around planes like this.

    Not to thread drift, but damn, those RedBull guys seem to do it right.. no expense spared on this DC-6.. and this was a plane that was allegedly in "good" shape and was flown back to Austria before RedBull gave it their treatment

     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  40. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    when you sell 8oz of pop that cost no more than TAB would to make for $3.00 a can, money isn't a problem lol