B17 crash at Dallas.

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by FlightmechH3, Nov 12, 2022.

  1. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Why not? Why can’t it be the literally dumbest, simplest, most obvious mistake?
    In previous years they’ve had more than 5 bombers in trail… at least 7 if I recall correctly, and adding the three fighters probably didn’t seem super complex at all. Hindsight is 20/20 but they probably thought they could adequately space with fewer planes than usual.
     
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  2. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Part of that often happens on Friday, where the practice *might* be a little less intense and it’s usually just school kids and VIPs present, but plenty of airshows happen when a day gets rained out. Keep in mind that some of those guys like Craig, with Tora, might have flown 20+ airshows this year and this might have been the last of the season, so in a sense there has been practice, but the location and exact rythym changes. Also, the timing can be affected by external things like other aircraft (us) approaching the TFR, bringing an act through an extra time to fill in a gap, adjusting for wind, etc. There were also some ride flights being spaced in and out. It generally stays a bit flexible.
     
  3. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Anyone see the Plane and Pilot report today? Here’s the email quote:


    Dallas Midair Tragedy. New Video Shows Startling Change in Flight Path of P-63.
    by Isabel Goyer
    The video surfaced as fringe outlets are reporting a possible drone strike.

    I’m not a subscriber
     
  4. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    That video and its conclusions have been debunked in a couple of places. I don’t give it much credence.
     
  5. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Gryder was indeed telling the truth about his recount of the archival copy of the brief.

    As to that ntsb narrative, wow. Its all right there. Absolutely damning. People would lose wings for certifying that plan, on my side of things. I had a long DFP-style debrief ready to post to explain the at least 4 WTF line items within that clownshow of a plan, as ultimately directed and flown. But given the mixed company on this thread and the generally sycophantic elements for the CAF by certain posters, it'll just get me a pointless furball and nobody's minds are going to change anyways.

    So I'll just tldr it: Caf is probably done. And they deserve to get their golden ticket letter of exemption pulled. Insurance will be in shortly and make this whole thing moot.

    Many layers that point at the organization, but im not getting into that with the 'home team' brigade on here. BL for me, this wasn't on Hutain alone. May his soul rest in peace.
     
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  6. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  7. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route PoA Supporter

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  8. RyanShort1

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    I don't know if the sycophant comment was aimed at me, we aren’t in as big disagreement as I think you imply. I think there are always going to be differences between paid professionals in a taxpayer funded organization and volunteer things and while I have my own issues with CAF culture, I am hesitant to draw certain conclusions. That said, I stand by what I said back in a previous post.

    At the end of the day, two things are clear:

    1. "The plan" probably wasn’t adequate (who's plan was it?) and it "seems" like everyone in the flight apparently either failed to recognize it or to say so. If that's true, that DOES speak to a culture issue, one that could probably be equal parts complacency because "it always worked before" or maybe the general fear of being the one to raise the question. "The Chair" is a real thing... that I've seen at multiple airshows. There IS an element of public (inside the show briefing) shame that gets used at times, and no one wants to be the fly in the ointment, when the public has been promised a good show. That said, you CAN speak up, and should. The rumors about not flying if you don't toe the line are also off.
    2. The FAA also signed off on that and allowed it to happen and I'm pretty sure could've called a "knock-it-off" via radio. Perhaps the FAA, if airshows are allowed to continue, really needs to hire some ex-military people with knowledge about formation and deconfliction to help run shows? If the NTSB doesn't include that or something related, you can be sure that's government protecting government, but at the end of the day, isn't the whole point of the FAA to protect the public, while allowing for reasonable liberty?
     
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  9. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No altitude deconfliction? Holy hell.
     
  10. TCABM

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    Well I don’t think there’s much more work for NTSB to do after what was in the preliminary.
     
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  11. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If I have this right, the fighters were to cross the past the bombers to the closer flight line and do so at the same altitude?
     
  12. RyanShort1

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    Yup. AND space out to trail in the process. They trusted the call and tail end Charlie paid for it.
     
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  13. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Well, that's certainly what happened. I think the plan was that the fighters remain outside of the bombers at all times. The question then becomes why they wound up inside. Sounds like they were told to fly in front of the bomber group, so they cut the corner. Did the airboss tell them to do that? Did the plan suck from the beginning? I'm not going to pretend to know, but I think a couple hundred feet of vertical separation would've gone a long way.
     
  14. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    If you read the Prelim, it states, "He (The Airboss) directed the fighter formation to transition to a trail formation, fly in front of the bomber formation, and proceed near the 500 ft show line. The bombers were directed to fly down the 1,000 ft show line."

    From the positions they were at, the fighters had to cross in front of the bombers to reach the 500 ft line (to the right as they approached the airport), while the bombers maintained the 1,000 ft line (to the left). They did so at the same altitude. It would appear that if this had worked as envisioned, the fighters would have been well ahead of the bombers. Now either the fighters, specifically the tail end of the trail formation, arrived later than anticipated, or the lead bomber was earlier than anticipated.
     
  15. RyanShort1

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    The remaining elephant in the room is whether or not the fighters were instructed to descend as well as switch to trail. They were clearly (see earlier photo in the thread) higher than the B-24 in the previous pass. Whether or not the altitude was part of the briefing, they were higher at one point, and that was a norm in previous years. Did they just decide to come down, or were they directed to?
     
  16. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Also from the Prelim," There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air."

    Not as many slices of Swiss cheese as would have been expected, at least in my opinion.

    One thing I would add, a lot of early speculation placed all blame on the P-63 pilot. I'm not absolving him of all blame, but he was setup. He was simply following his leader who was following the airboss's instruction. As a wingman, even in a loose trail formation, he was more than likely padlocked on following the aircraft in front of him, with no expectation the B-17 would be any where near him. By the time he saw it, even if he saw it, it was far too late.
     
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  17. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I was ASSUMING that the plan couldn't possibly have been to have aircraft crossing paths at the same altitude, but the more I think about it, if the fighters used the 500' line going on both directions, yeah... that seems like a bad plan.
     
  18. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    It wasn't aimed at you. It was meant for a different poster, one who seems to be too close to the event, and the organization, to take a step back and not reflexively ad hominem Gryder for taking a stab at the brief, which proved correct.
     
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  19. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    This has been an interesting dynamic to witness, certainly online. Folks I've discussed this offline with have been much more frank, and actually open to debate even when disagreements arise, which I found refreshing by contrast. Guess when people are staring at each other within fists' length, everybody gets polite all of a sudden :D

    At any rate, I know Gryder's a clown. But that doesn't negate the fact that when it came down to nobody being willing to come forward and make public comments on the contents of the brief, he farted in church and said the quiet part out loud. I don't care that a broken clock is right twice a day; his take on the brief was not a lie. Yet the white knights called him a liar, while also refusing to bring forth refuting commentary to support the accusation. That's tone-policing, and doesn't sit well with me. I don't even mind that some people like to play " I've got a secret" because they're trying to preserve their own access to the proverbial mean girls club. But when they get out of their lane and seek to muffle bystanders who choose not to partake in their little self-imposed gag order, that's when I stand with the church-farter. Much as I dislike his antics in personal life.

    Look, play games, but pay full fare though. I'll fly an RV-6a in retirement and make P-51 mustang noises while inverted with my piehole (I won't paint invasion stripes I promise :D) because it's what I can afford. But you won't see my hand sticking out and demanding letters of exemption. Meaning, you don't get to crap the bed while on the dole, I get to pay for your moral hazard (yes ERAU, I'm looking at you), but then when we predictably mouth off about that grievance it's all of a sudden blasphemy? Hell naw, F that S. To quote in living color: Homey don' play dat.

    Certainly not on top of the already ongoing public perception erosion for this "rich people's hobby", as viewed (good bad or indifferent) by the higher political-clout-holding pedestrians who got their public highway shut down for hours over debris falling out of the sky. I really don't want to get into the socioeconomics angle of this shtick, so I'm gonna digress on that in the interest of not derailing the thread.

    Lastly, the credentials of the FAA individuals tasked with these events also merits open debate. By my current IA's own experience in the mx side with FSDOs, it appears the hiring of these petty functionaries bends more towards OPM and their chocolate mess obscure point system/KSA usajob planes trains and automobiles rabbit hole hiring kabuki, and less about demonstrated core competencies relevant to the role they're being hired into. As someone who worked the first 1/3 of my career in an Air Reserve Technician majority environment, I speak usajobs/fed/OPM. It's a mess, and yields proverbial army tank commanders supervising flightlines with nary a clue wtf is going on around them. Can't say that's what happened here, but again some of my offline interactions at least raise the question of who exactly is in the seat representing the FAA on these functions.
     
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  20. RyanShort1

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    1. The FAA can absolutely call a “knock it off” at an airshow…

    2. Some people need to realize that it’s going to require taking personal responsibility to avoid getting everything shut down. That’s really hard to stomach, just like it’s hard to ask a hard question in a briefing. If ya want to be a leader, you’ve got to do the hard things.

    3. The media is watching and they will shape the public opinion. This can’t wait 2 years for the final NTSB report. It’s not a secret. WFAA in Dallas made the NTSB report their front page headline yesterday. The CAF and airshow (ICAS?) leadership is gonna have to grab this tiger by the tail and address it before the resumption of airshow season next year.
     
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  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    An armed society is a polite society.”
    :)
     
  22. FlightmechH3

    FlightmechH3 Pre-Flight

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    That airshow was a total soup sandwich. I saw enough that things were out of control due to a systemic culture that's obviously a bunch of hot dogs doing what they please.

    Can you imagine if the wreckage came down on the crowds?

    Time to ground the CAF
     
  23. RyanShort1

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    Seriously?

    Let me explain why I think this is ridiculous.

    The P-63 pilot: Craig Hutain, 35,000 pilot, airline pilot, I believe had an aerobatics card from the the FAA since he did the aerobatic routine in the P-63 last year. Not exactly a hot dog. Flew a pretty precise and disciplined Tora show immediately before switching to the P-63.

    https://www.toratoratora.com/pilots-bio/craig-hutain

    His mistake was not cowboy-ish, but actually most likely looking ahead and trying to carefully roll out on the same line he’d flown earlier in the Tora “Hawk” following the P-51C ahead. He's going to get the lion's share of the blame, but he wasn't being a cowboy, OR a hot-dog.

    The fighter flight also had a fairly well-known safety advocate and respected instructor who is extremely safety-conscious and probably kicking himself right now who was in the P-51C. The bombers’ pilots, several of whom I know, are not exactly cowboys in any sense of the word, nor were they flying cowboy-ish, AT ALL.

    The Occam’s Razor issue and most likely cause here is that the two formations got mis-timed, badly, and the pilots were disciplined enough to their formation and show-lines because they trusted the air boss too much. That’s hardly cowboy stuff, if anything, it’s complacency caused by multiple successes of flying boring racetracks and believing in the timing ability of the coordinator. It's like a music conductor telling the strings section to come in a bar too early, and the following out of habit, causing an ensuing discordant note.

    Regarding coming down on people - nope, not that either. The timing was bad, but the show line airshow rules generally worked. The energy of the B-17 took it straight ahead 1000’ away from the CAF HQ but not pointed at any non-participants.

    Look, I'm as upset about this as anyone. Guys I knew died in front of me and my kids, at my home base, and I see the scene every time I go downstairs from my office, but we need to address the primary and secondary causes, and fix those, which means we need to get down to the actual problems, not silly assumptions that don't stand up to scrutiny.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2022
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  24. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    I thought I read somewhere (maybe here) that the briefing DG commented on was from a prior year.
     
  25. FlightmechH3

    FlightmechH3 Pre-Flight

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    Doesn't matter. 40k hours or 4, along with the airboss. If everyone was being "safe" then there should not have been a collision, right?

    This was a mele that could have been prevented before a prop even turned.

    Oh, and I have responded to crashes in Alaska and the Bahamas. One was an impact straight into a mountainside by a AK bush pilot and passenger that had to be somewhere. Flying in the soup. It's really wonderful to see huge amounts of blood running down the snow and ice from both sides of the aircraft.

    It boils down to **** poor decisions.
     
  26. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You know, after the Collin's debacle I would have thought that the other groups would fix this stuff. Collins had one guy fulfilling several roles that were meant to complement each other and if necessary, shut things down if their particular area had an issue. Unfortunately it devolved into one guy filling several roles and the unthinkable accident happened. On top of that there was what I think is criminal negligence in the area of maintenance and inspections. I don't know if this guy was a nice guy or not. But it doesn't matter. This stuff cannot be happening. Yes I know everyone thinks the same way and I am stating the obvious. But you know what, everyone should be saying it, especially all involved in these organizations. And if someone doesn't like it, tough crap.

    I've been lucky, I've gotten a small glimpse into the mentality of an airshow performer as an outsider looking in. Some of the stuff this person has done I would consider nuts. But every time I see this person talk about flying I am amazed at how risk averse they are. It's almost to the point of superstition. When it comes to performing, everything is thought out, planned out and rehearsed. There is no seat of the pants take it as it comes, it's all figured out. Furthermore there are gates and tests and plans if something doesn't go as expected. There are outs planned. It doesn't look that way when it's performed, that's the showmanship.

    I can't think of any scenario where an unrehearsed, essentially unplanned convergence of dissimilar aircraft at the same altitude would ever be a good idea, especially near a crowd of people, never mind an air boss requesting it to happen. (Not the crash, but requesting aircraft to pass one another in an unplanned maneuver.)

    I don't know who else is left besides the CAF flying these warbirds for hire in airshows. But the track record isn't as good as I thought it would be.
     
  27. midwestpa24

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    Ryan is exactly right. I knew some of the pilots involved as well, some of these guys helped write the book on airshow safety, and are the farthest from being cowboys as possible.

    That still doesn't mean something didn't go horribly wrong. Hindsight is 20/20, and its really easy as a Monday morning quarterback to find fault. But this was not a random bunch of cowboy pilots doing cowboy stuff. This was an experienced and knowledgeable group of pilots doing a routine they had done many times before. Just this time it went wrong, tragically wrong.

    Even the best pilots are still human, and mistakes still happen. Even the best such as the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, have had their share of fatal accidents.
     
  28. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I will say this, the Collin's Foundation was definitely an outlier in the warbird world. They operated quite differently than most operators, and definitely the CAF. I know many warbird pilots that refused to work with them. They were much more focuses on the money side of things and selling rides. They ran their aircraft ragged trying to keep the seats full and money coming in. They had/have a fleet of aircraft they simply can't afford to operate and maintain, including several jet fighters that haven't flown in years. You'll notice they didn't participate in many airshows, no money in it for them.
     
  29. RyanShort1

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    If you’re willing to say you’re ignorant, maybe don’t say it, and we in GA aren’t exactly perfect, either.

    Replying to FlightMechH3, correct diagnosis absolutely matters. If my opinions and diagnosis are wrong, I’ll accept that and you can come ask me to recant, and I hope I will do so, but if a Luscombe’s left aileron broke and all Luscombes are subject to that potential failure, I want to know so I can address that ASAP. It won’t do any of us any good if the FAA says that we need to replace the wingtip instead. That’s why a correct diagnosis, cowboy vs complacency, for instance, is really stinkin’ important. Could this have been fixed at the briefing? Probably so, but if timing and judgment are the issue, maybe the best briefing in the world could also have gone wrong. What if the briefing was perfect but the airboss tells you to make a change? Do you say no? There’s more than one way to induce chaos!
     
  30. FlightmechH3

    FlightmechH3 Pre-Flight

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    Not a single pilot in that group of aircraft raised a concern that there was no discussion of altitude deconfliction?

    Am I right?

    Sounds like some are circling the wagons.
     
  31. midwestpa24

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    I would say the answer to this is that there was a reasonable expectation of lateral and/or timing spacing between the fighter and bomber elements. Think of aircraft as moving in 4 dimensions, they assumed separation in 3 out of 4 of those dimensions. Obviously that separation didn't happen. Better question at this point is why? Something was seriously out of sequence.
     
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  32. TCABM

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    Thoughts of complacency and normalization of deviance comes to mind.
     
  33. Tools

    Tools Cleared for Takeoff

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    So… are we saying they DIDNT KNOW to speak up due to the inherent dangers? That would indicate not qualified for THAT evolution.

    As qualified as they may have been for a billion other evolutions….

    JFK Jr was totally legal to do what he did. He didn’t have the experience to know he didn’t know…. It’s a tragic irony that pervades aviation.
     
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  34. RyanShort1

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    So, Hindsight2020 has talked about military formation stuff. I think an issue here is that there were two separate formations inadvertently merged, and that’s not been what I remember seeing in past years. It’s almost like there was an uncodified expectation of separation via airboss - perhaps an over-reliance on that - that everyone assumed to be true - until it wasn’t.

    The altitude deconfliction, while obviously a problem now, probably wasn’t on the pilot’s radar as a potential problem due to the fact that the timing hadn’t apparently ever caused a need for more separation before, and if you’re gonna blame the pilots for not speaking up, lets hold an equal standard and say the same for the FAA.

    The CAF guys regularly do formation clinics, but perhaps the military knowledge on more than one formation operating in a given space needs more emphasis and awareness?
     
  35. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wasn’t there, but having participated in other air shows, I seriously doubt that the issue was people not knowing to speak up.

    I suspect it was more of an issue of people not recognizing during the show that it wasn’t going as planned (it most definitely was not going as planned based on the prelim).

    Poor planning is only part of the problem. You can survive a poor plan, but you have to recognize it before it kills someone
     
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  36. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Altitude deconfliction may not have seemed necessary IF the fighter line was supposed to do their pass in advance of the bombers.

    The real question bugging me is if that was the intention (as described in the prelim) how in the hell didn’t anyone notice the timing was that off?
     
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  37. Jim K

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    I can't help but wonder if a bunch of experienced air show pilots would even recognize crossing paths like that to be a hazard. The Tora airshow has always made me a bit uncomfortable to watch as it looks like a mid air waiting to happen. Now I know that that's an illusion and it's highly choreographed and practiced, but it still makes me nervous. To guys who regularly intentionally fly aircraft nearly head on, some fighters flying by some bombers surely seemed like a nothing burger right up until it wasn't.
     
  38. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Insurance is certainly part of it, but I suspect donations will fall through the floor, too.

    From their own website, CAF's first listed objective is:
    To acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and selected aircraft of other nations for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.

    and their fourth listed objective is:
    To establish an organization having the dedication, enthusiasm and esprit de corps necessary to operate, maintain and preserve these aircraft as symbols of our American military aviation heritage.
    Rather than "restoring and preserving" planes, this organization just destroyed two historically significant aircraft and killed six of its members. Will people continue to send money to a group that so completely fails to achieve its objectives?

    The details of what went wrong are important, of course, but ultimately CAF bears responsibility for the safety of their people and the aircraft. Regardless of the specific cause of the crash, CAF screwed up.

    Personally, I won't be inclined to send a dime to the group any time soon. Certainly not before they thoroughly understand what went wrong and take aggressive action to correct the problems.
     
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  39. Piperonca

    Piperonca Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Please don't confuse Collins https://www.collinsaerospace.com/ with Collings https://www.collingsfoundation.org/
     
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  40. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Drake the Outlaw
    In recent years, the CAF has returned a number of these historic aircraft to flight. For 40+ years, they had the only flying B-29 and it toured annually. Beyond the B-29, they maintain and fly their aircraft for public view/experience/participation. There are a ton of private warbird collections that only see the light of day if the owner wants to take his newest restoration to Oshkosh for a $5M trophy. Then the aircraft go back into the hangar and are rarely seen again. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of WWII fighters and bombers that suffer this fate. And they sometimes crash too.

    Yes, several people apparently screwed up here, with disastrous consequences. But I don't hold the whole organization responsible for that. Just the people who were directly responsible, presumably to include the FAA rep's who allowed what may have been a very flawed program to move forward. And I'm sure there were mitigating circumstances AND that safety was a prime consideration in show planning. But the plan failed. I get that.

    But that doesn't make me want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
     
    SoonerAviator, Jim K and RyanShort1 like this.