B-17 Crash / Hartford Ct (BDL closed)

gne in prog

Well-Known Member
What’s up with ATC? Sheesh. Pilots say they need a return to the field, the first question should not be “what’s wrong, why do you want to come back?”

If a plane that size and age is requesting a return to field, it’s unlikely they are coming because they forgot the milk and eggs at the airport. Why not say, ok you wanna come back, turn this heading, that altitude. And once the guy seems to be headed back, then ask the reason for the return.
Did you listen to the recording?
 

A Life Aloft

Well-Known Member
Disagree. Carrying 10+ passengers, i want better trained crews. Not people quoting loopholes.
From what I have read this afternoon, the pilot, (Ernest McCauley) had been flying this plane for 21 years and had logged 7,300 hours on her. Seems like plenty of experience to me.

This is just so damn sad. I feel so badly for those who perished, their loved ones, friends and co-workers, for the loss of this magnificent plane and for the Collings Foundation.


If there is any bright spot it's that there happened to be aboard, an Airman who is the current Command Chief for the 103rd Airlift Wing and a trained C-130 loadmaster. He brought his Military issued flame retardant flight gloves with him during the flight, and using these, was able to open the hatch on the aircraft allowing other passengers to egress the plane after the crash. He did this while suffering from a broken arm and a broken collarbone. Chief Master Sgt. James Traficante......He joined the Air Force in 1984 and his deployments included Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. He came to the 103rd, based at Bradley International Airport, in 2014.
 
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A Life Aloft

Well-Known Member
We all called him Mac. I can tell you that Mac had considerably more time than that in the 17. He was hands down the highest time B-17 driver in history.
I only posted what I could find thus far on the net, which often is not exactly accurate. It seems like he had more than enough experience and time on the B-17. From what I have read, everyone loved and respected him and he really enjoyed flying this plane and being a part of the team of Warbird pilots for Collings. I saw some photos of him working on one of the engines as well and some short interviews. I am so very sorry that you lost a friend and co-worker. Must be so painful for all of you at Collings.
 

NickH

Dank Meme
He was the pilot who flew with me a decade ago. :(

Incredibly nice guy, and in the time I spent talking with him, it was obvious how much he loved the airplane and flying it.

But that said, I wouldn't fly with him today because of age. That's the elephant in the room, that no one wants to mention.
 

KVNC

Florida Man
I remember being a 17-year-old kid going down to the airport to take pictures of the Collins birds with my Kodak Easyshare. I think most of us will have some sort of connection. So sorry for those lost. This one hits hard...
 
D

Deleted member 27505

Guest
Checking the FAA database. Pilot was B-17 rated. Co pilot not but held an ATP. Flight Engineer is a student pilot/mechanic. How can that work?
Probably in a somewhat similar way to which it worked in WWII when the Capt had ~50 hours, the Co had ~35 hours, and the FE was fresh off the farm with a few days of "gauges differences training" so he could differentiate the airplane dials from those of the tractor.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Required crew is one. These airplanes were flown single pilot during their firefighting days.
The FE isn’t a required position either.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
B-17s? Were two pilot in the firefighting days. Just like the Dougs, the and the PB4Ys. Some of the twin engine fire bombers were single pilot, like the Invader, the F7F and the current S-2s. At least the B-17s I saw sitting on alert and launching for fires out of PRC, MZJ and FFZ, always had a pilot and co-pilot onboard.
 
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NickH

Dank Meme
Probably in a somewhat similar way to which it worked in WWII when the Capt had ~50 hours, the Co had ~35 hours, and the FE was fresh off the farm with a few days of "gauges differences training" so he could differentiate the airplane dials from those of the tractor.
They were called the twenty minuters.....

 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Who says they’re not typed? You’re arguing with somebody that knows this operation well and everybody involved. If he says they were appropriately rated, then they were appropriately rated.
Isn’t there an FAA exemption allowing some of the warbirds that are certificated in the Experimental category, to carry passengers?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
I am not sure the B-17 has a required crew that included the F.E. to fly. I do know that in the days of the old piston liners at TWA at least, F.E. positions were filled by mechanics primarily and other than F.E. rating I am not sure how many of them had pilots licenses.
PFEs were professional FEs, those guys who were A&Ps and got their FE ticket and flew as such, never going to move up to the front seats. SOs, or Second Officers, were pilots with FE tickets who sat the FE position and were awaiting the move to FO at some point. Airlines used both. I think Doug even remembers some of the last PFEs at SJI.
 

Inverted

The journey is the meat in the goal sandwich
He was the pilot who flew with me a decade ago. :(

Incredibly nice guy, and in the time I spent talking with him, it was obvious how much he loved the airplane and flying it.

But that said, I wouldn't fly with him today because of age. That's the elephant in the room, that no one wants to mention.
I flew with him in the 17 a couple months ago, and I would have again. I am super ageist too, but Mac was sharp. Not to say this won’t end up as pilot error, it most likely will be.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Disagree. Carrying 10+ passengers, i want better trained crews. Not people quoting loopholes.
What are the training and checking standards, if any, for the operation? I don’t know the answer but am curious.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
We get requests to come back to the field all the time for various non-emergencies. If you need to return to the field because of an emergency, declare an emergency.
Agreed. Generally speaking, it seems so many pilots are hesitant to use the “E word”. Have heard ATC sometimes have to drag it out of them.

Not saujng related here, just a general observation of civil aviation.
 
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