B-17 Crash / Hartford Ct (BDL closed)

Inverted25

Well-Known Member
Some of the findings are pretty shocking.....

an FE with no training, certification or experience as an FE-R; but getting OJT.......wow. Among many other factors discovered, both causal as well as non-causal, with the entire operation.


Even though I love the mission and wish to see it continue I hope these guys are done. I know one of the owners flew through our local Class B in the P40 without talking to anyone. I know the inspector said he refused to cooperate with the FAA during that investigation. From what I was told that was just one of numerous run ins with the FAA for that guy. I figured the FAA was going to come down hard on them for this crash with that kind of history

[mention]Inverted [/mention] your a pilot for them are they really that shady?

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ahw01

Well-Known Member
Some of the findings are pretty shocking.....

an FE with no training, certification or experience as an FE-R; but getting OJT.......wow. Among many other factors discovered, both causal as well as non-causal, with the entire operation.


The words what did I tell you spring to mind...
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
Some of the findings are pretty shocking.....

an FE with no training, certification or experience as an FE-R; but getting OJT.......wow. Among many other factors discovered, both causal as well as non-causal, with the entire operation.


Crew lacked training and proper certifications, improper records, poor maintenance practices, etc... If I didn't know any better, it sounds like a typical south Florida operation.
 

A Life Aloft

Well-Known Member
Yikes!!

FAA Withdraws Permission for the Collings Foundation Aircraft to Carry Passengers
It is unclear when the agency previously audited the foundation’s operations or record keeping.


By Rob Mark
March 31, 2020

The FAA last week ruled the Collings Foundation could no longer accept money from people who wanted to ride on the organization’s World War II aircraft. The ruling included a critical look at the NTSB and the agency’s finding following the October 2, 2019, crash of the foundation’s B-17G, “Nine O Nine” at Bradley International Airport (KBDL) in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Though the NTSB conducted the investigation at the accident site last year, the notice immediately rescinding the foundation’s exemption to carry paying passengers came from the FAA. The agency’s action also halted a Collings Foundation request to renew its current exemption, an action required every two years.

The accident occurred shortly after the WWII bomber took off from KBDL about 9:45 am local time. At 9:50 am, one of the B-17 crew members told the tower they were experiencing an engine problem and would return to land on KBDL’s Runway 6. The crippled aircraft never climbed higher than 500 feet agl. The B-17 crashed on short final to Runway 6 and burst into flames after striking the airport’s deicing facility. The accident killed five passengers as well as the two pilots. Another six people aboard were injured.

The Collings Foundation fleet was operating under Exemption 6540P of the federal regulations that allow certain vintage aircraft with either an experimental or a limited category airworthiness certificate to carry passengers as part of the living history flight experience. The FAA “historically found the preservation of US aviation history to be in the public interest. Organizations offered to provide short in-flight experiences in exchange for compensation, leading to the term nostalgia flights and later living history flight experience and provided a means for private civilian owners to offset the considerable restoration, maintenance and operational costs.”

The FAA said the Collings Foundation failed to comply with a number of the exemption’s requirements as its reason for the enforcement action. One dealt with the crew chief assigned to the B-17. Crew chiefs are required to assist the pilots with a number of duties on each flight and require extensive training before being allowed serve in that position. The crew chief on the accident flight—who survived—later testified he’d never received any training on the aircraft. He also said he had no knowledge of what his duties should have been while aboard the flight.

The Collings Foundation was required to have established and maintained a safety management system for the entire operation. A safety management system is designed to promote a culture of safety and allow any employee—without fear of retribution—to feed important safety information back to a central source to ensure problems are resolved. The crew chief stated he had no knowledge that the foundation even had an SMS.

The investigation uncovered numerous unresolved maintenance squawks on the B-17. The PIC of the accident flight, Ernest “Mac” McCauley, had flown “Nine O Nine” for 20 years and had logged more time on the model than any other pilot. McCauley held an A&P certificate and served as the foundation’s director of maintenance.

The NTSB discovered magneto and ignition failures on the B-17’s number four nine-cylinder radial engine. “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,” said the FAA report. The right magneto was also “unserviceable.” The point gap on the magneto’s points was less than half of what was called for in service documents that led to the right mag delivering “weak or no spark” to four of the nine cylinders. All spark-plug gaps on the number three engine were also found to be significantly out of tolerance, making it likely neither engine on the right side was producing normal power. Witnesses reporting seeing the aircraft flying right wing low as it attempted to return to KBDL.

Finally, the investigation found the aircraft’s maintenance records lacked key pieces of information that made it impossible to verify whether some required maintenance had ever been performed on “Nine O Nine.” Though the FAA did not ask for comments to the Collings Foundation exemption renewal, the agency said it received more than 1,500. “Most were from individuals who cited the historical and sentimental value of allowing living history flight to continue.” The comments are believed to have been received before the FAA published the list of alleged violations against the Collings Foundation aircraft and the depth of its issues became known.
 

TowJoe

You really Schruted that one
Since I was young I've always wanted to ride in a warbird. If you're giving rides to the public, how does maintenance and safety slide this far? Culture? No one speaking up? Must get the mission done? Systemic lack of safety? All of the above? My background is 121 so if it's broke it goes in the book. Historical and sentimental hopes and prayers don't keep them flying, proper maintenance and respect for safety do.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Since I was young I've always wanted to ride in a warbird. If you're giving rides to the public, how does maintenance and safety slide this far? Culture? No one speaking up? Must get the mission done? Systemic lack of safety? All of the above? My background is 121 so if it's broke it goes in the book. Historical and sentimental hopes and prayers don't keep them flying, proper maintenance and respect for safety do.
One large problem is that the warbird movement contains its fair share of Walter Mitty types, guys who want to play military pilot never having been one or been through the training. These particular types want to be able to dress the part of fighter pilot, and they are wealthy so they have the dollars to not only do that, but to purchase a high dollar, and high performance, warbird to complete the picture.

Unfortunately like their wealth, they possess an equally large (or larger) ego that doesn’t allow them to have any realization that their knowledge, skill, abilities, training and currency may not be where it needs to be for having the SA to be piloting aircraft of this caliber, even though more experienced people may be telling them so. They end up getting themselves into a square corner that they can’t get themselves out of, resulting in killing themselves, killing others in the air or on the ground, and/or destroying an irreplaceable aircraft. Have seen it happen before, 10 years ago at my old former airfield in fact.
 

CFI A&P

Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
Since I was young I've always wanted to ride in a warbird. If you're giving rides to the public, how does maintenance and safety slide this far? Culture? No one speaking up? Must get the mission done? Systemic lack of safety? All of the above? My background is 121 so if it's broke it goes in the book. Historical and sentimental hopes and prayers don't keep them flying, proper maintenance and respect for safety do.
Ding ding ding. How can the organization's director of maintenance not have a conflict of interest in this scenario ? The aircraft needed magneto maintenance, which means downtime and no revenue since there isn't a spare aircraft to take the flight. The DOM elected to keep the aircraft in service which ultimately resulted in a fatal accident.

Saying no is often the most difficult job in an operation, even more so if operating on a shoe string budget.
 
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