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FAA says no passengers on Collings Foundation aircraft after deadly CT crash

In a recent ruling, the Federal Aviation Administration revoked the Collings Foundation’s permission to have passengers aboard its aircraft after a deadly crash last October, citing various safety reasons. The ruling comes nearly six months after a World War II B-17 bomber Nine O Nine — owned by the Collings Foundation — crashed soon after taking off from Bradley International Airport on Oct. 2, 2019. ( More...

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If the link works, pretty damning article here:
djames225 4
Very damning report to the point that the FAA should revoke ALL licenses, order an inspection of every one of their craft by an outside company, and fine them up the backside. Stupid j-asses placing people's lives in crap equipment.
john baugh 0
The captain and flight crew are responsible for each flight. It's up to them to cancel a flight.
djames225 2
It's up to the company to properly maintain ALL aircraft, not just 1. Collins has more than 1 aircraft. If spotty maintenance was on this craft, what are the others that fly the sky like?
Jeff Steiner 1
Clean link:
george batsche 16
Read the FAA report.. Although some might argue that it was the FAA's responsibility to "monitor" them, it was, first and foremost, the operators responsibility to comply with required preventative and reactive maintenance requirements. As an aircraft owner, it is my responsibility to ensure that annual inspections, 100-hour inspections, SBs, ADs etc are completed--and not just because I am afraid that the FAA might "audit"me. It is because of my responsibility to myself and my passengers. All bucks stop with the pilot and crew.
But the FAA *should* verify that carriers like them are following requirements and that their planes are air worthy. To not do that is dereliction of duty. The FAA is still suffering under sequestration, and likely political agenda meddling too.

But part of this is why would someone want to fly in a plane that old with an unknown record. I'd on some lever love to experience flying in a bomber, but damn, that is so potentially dangerous. I'm just sad for the families of the dead. So tragic.
unitcharlie 4
Respectfully, Robert Cowling, I've flown on 909 more than a two dozen times in the past 20 or so years, I've never felt unsafe in 909 or any other warbird. This aircraft is old but, in my opinion, not unsafe. Why did I fly in this aircraft? Because I had a great uncle who was a waist gunner on B17. He started talking to me about his experiences flying over wartime Europe before they had escorts all the to Berlin. I felt his presence on every excursion into history... in fact, '909' isn't the only B17 I've been privileged to ride. FYI, there is potential danger in every endeavor, Hell a rock from Pluto could whizz from the sky and hit you... This tragic crash killed a friend of mine:in his hands '909' was a ballerina, the engines a Wagner Symphony, the smells a trip down memory lane... I have a bunch time as a flying crew chief on C-119F aircraft...
Pa Thomas 9
Would you have flown in it had you known that basically the company ignored the most basic maintenance? Would you fly your C119 knowing your mechanics were literally jury rigging parts with no inspections?
aarondmorley 0
Respectfully Steve, if you’ve flown dozens of times in that aircraft over the last 20 years, that likely means most of those flights were likely not in the last year.

Everyone could, and I would hope should always feel safe in any aircraft. Sadly, we know only too well that quite often the feelings of unsafe only come moments after people realise that their lives depend (or are in some cases sadly limited to) the next few seconds.

All too often we see those ‘next few seconds’ come days/weeks/years after someone else botched, or even worse skipped something they should have done properly.

I have no doubt the pilots and crew never had unsafe feelings while flying that aircraft right up until a few moments after they realised they had a reason to feel unsafe, and by them it was too late. Who knows, had proper checks and maintenance been undertaken those same pilots and crew might still be flying today, and still not feeling at all unsafe.
djames225 1
If those mags and spark plugs were that bad on a radial engine, pilot and crew should feel it just taxing to runway. That plus a mag check before rollout should have occurred. Those Wright's sing when running properly, but bark with a hoarse throat when they are not.
jmonroe 4
IF they had done a standard run up/mag check at the end of the runway, shouldn't they have gotten a drop that indicated an issue? The engines are a good, safe type and design but cleaning and gapping the plugs is an easy thing to do. Time consuming with all those cylinders but easy.
Pa Thomas 4
This is the end of the "Foundation."
Probably? Time will tell. Sad...
john baugh 1
Not necessarily. Maybe compare it to a PArt 135 Commercial aircraft charter company that has ten airplanes and there is a loss. I would suggest they park all airplanes, "stand down" cancel flight insurance and other cost-saving measures, and figure out where the ground level is and how they want to rebuild the organization. A flying museum,, a static museum, a private collection, etc.
GraemeSmith 3
Another way to look at this is that the FAA are not renewing their permit pending the completion of the NTSB investigation - which is NOT COMPLETE.

Now some of the reasons given - which are from parts of a partially complete investigation - certainly don't look very good - but till all the evidence is in and till the jury has rendered a verdict - I'm not going to give the Foundation a "pass". But I'm not going to hang them either.

Waiting on full NTSB report.
I'm a retired electrical engineer, spent a while designing, installing & flight testing non flight critical electronics, during this time I was exposed to a Safety culture that required me to re-think some of my design methods, in the long run most everything that surprised me was actually common sense.
Even the culture in my auto enthusiasts group would never condone ignoring ignition issues.
I doubt that the safety culture in Collings has always been this way, and we are all aware of the financial challenges of operating this type of organization, I am hopeful that the Collings Foundation can recover but this may be the beginning of the end.
a mentor 2
Most disturbing findings given the equipment and interest in it.
From a distance,and without all the information, could it be that a lot of responsibilities were handled by one, not so young person? Before I even read the caption under the picture of the elderly gentleman who was the pilot and the person responsible for maintenance, standing on the very top step of a ladder working on an engine, I thought to myself,it looked pretty risky. It sounds like the engine issues could have been discovered and some easily corrected, if an honest maintenance schedule was maintained. Nevertheless, a very sad ending on many levels.
James Simms 2
Too bad
I flew her near Chicago a few years back and never questioned my safety. In fact for a few short minutes, (not even close to reality) I felt what it must of been like to trust your life on a machine. For a moment after we leveled off I crawled into to the nose gunner position, and watched the green Illinois farmland go by trying to imagine what it must have felt like flying to battle, at an age younger than my son is now, ... can grown men cry over aircraft or machine? ... this one can. RIP PAX & CREW
Mark Harris 3
Surely grounds for some sort of legal action there. The aircraft should never have been allowed to leave the ground in that condition.
M20ExecDriver 2
"Hey, we had the tail shot full of holes, two engines out and hydraulic fluid and gas leaking all over the place and we still got her home".

The WW2 bombing mission return flight culture was alive and well.
Garth Clark 1
When demand is at its highest, things may not be the same when taking off.
brent watson 2
The elderly gentleman standing on the top of a ladder: (either 6' or 8' AGL) doing engine maintenance is rather dangerous and concerning. I'm 65 and have good balance, but would never do that!!!. Not a good image of safety at all!
djames225 0
That is how you have to do maintenance on these old birds. And, unfortunately, that "elderly" gentleman on the ladder was Mac McCauley, also the P.I.T. on the flight that crashed.
brent watson 3
I don't think you "have" to do it that way, Mac chose that way because it seemed easiest and he may not have had enough help.
I know Mac was loved by many, but I think he violated the old or bold rule.
djames225 0
How else would you do it? They are not low to the ground, cannot get a lift positioned properly in front due to props. It's more unsafe leaning out over a lift's railing, than standing on a ladder. Having worked on older craft, sometimes the only way is on a ladder, when working at the front of the engine
Scaffolding would be much better.
djames225 0
Again where you have to position the scaffolding means reaching out over the rails, and sometimes working on those birds meant reaching in behind the prop. If the prop is removed, then yes scaffolding and/or a bucket lift would work best.
Standing on top of a step ladder isn't as stable as using scaffolding. Or at least have someone hold the ladder.
djames225 0
May not be as stable, but sometimes has to be done. I do agree with holding the ladder but since we cannot see the whole picture, it's possible it was tied off, like I use to do, or someone was at the base.
Greg Zelna 1
I imagine you would do it with a taller step ladder ,and not stand on the top- which is always about 2 steps higher than the one labeled "do not step on or above this point".....
wewal52 1
A taller step ladder would seem appropriate. I have a 14 foot tall stepladder. The top step is at 12 feet and there is a bar to lean against at the 14 foot level. The design promotes safe ladder use, while allowing a six foot person to reach items 18 feet AGL. Get the right tool for the job at hand.
djames225 1
If you used a taller step ladder, you would need to turn it sideways to lean into the engine. That is also unsafe as it could kick out sideways.
I have used stepladders on old birds liek these and sometimes you have to top step it. Ladder tied off at bottom and if I feel like falling forward, catch the prop to re-balance.
Seeing as I have worked on old birds like these, sometimes you have to bend the "old or bold" rules. I am done commenting.
A real shame. I rode in their B24 two years ago because the B17 ride was sold out. Great fun.
Greg Zelna 1
Shouldn't this 4 engine bomber which I must assume was carrying a very light load consisting of a handful of passengers, have been able to limp back for a safe landing on 3 engines ? Was there more than an engine failure here, or what ?
linbb 1
Went on one web site that is AV Web I think, some dumb comments about the engines used on it like that type are only used on bomber aircraft. I understand what the problem was and the FAA is in charge of monitoring them. They did not it would have been very easy to find problems in there paperwork it seems. Was easy to find the cause of engine failure have worked on annuals of light AC way back when. Mags and wiring were always top priority on every inspection due to how vital they are and fuel system also. Problems existed that should have shown up during run ups easy to detect also. This will really hurt all warbirds everywhere not just them. Rode in FIFI sat across from the flight engineer, watched every movement, saw him detect in flight a slightly rough engine without any instrument indication and fix it.
BTW the best pilot in the world, with the most current hours in a B-17 was flying it. And when I flew with him, he was nothing but professional - and not a word spoken(outside of crew and comms) until he was out of the plane. He listened but never responded.
Hank Titone 0
My son and I took a touring flight on this B-17 from Waterbury/Oxnard airport on Sept.7,2019 at @ 10:30 AM. We did not see any indications of safety concerns. Some oil was leaking from one or more engines.
robert cook -3
I recall that right after the incident at a press conference. I believe it was the Governor of Connecticut said all these old planes should be grounded. Go figure! Gee,did some one else say political meddling.


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