Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress Crashes

Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress Crashes

By Dario Leone
Oct 2 2019
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Officials confirm the Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress crashed at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Lock, Connecticut.

A World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft has crashed on Oct. 2, 2019 at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Lock, Connecticut. CBS affiliate WFSB states that fire officials confirm the Boeing B-17 crashed at the airport and that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have responded. 

The FAA confirmed to CBS News that the vintage aircraft crashed at the end of Runway 6 during an attempted landing at 10 a.m. The FAA said the aircraft is a civilian registered aircraft and was not flown by the military. 

The Bradley International Airport put out a statement on Twitter that said, “We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available.” 

There is no word yet on possible fatalities. Several pictures posted on Twitter show a fire with black smoke rising from near the airport.

B-17G-85-DL, 44-83575, civil registration N93012, was owned and flown by The Collings Foundation, Stow, Massachusetts, and regularly appears at airshows marked as the historic Nine-O-Nine.

The Collings Flying Fortress was built at Long Beach, CA by the Douglas Aircraft Company and accepted on Apr. 7, 1945. Although she was too late for combat, #44-83575 did serve air-sea rescue duties as part of the Air/Sea 1st Rescue Squadron and later in the Military Air Transport Service.

Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress Crashes

In April 1952, #44-83575 was instrumented and subjected to the effects of three different nuclear explosions. After a thirteen-year “cool down” period, #44-83575 was sold as part of an 800-ton scrap pile and Aircraft Specialties Company began the restoration of the aircraft.

Damaged skin was fabricated and replaced on site; engines and props were stripped, cleaned, repaired, and tested; four thousand feet of new control cable was installed; all electrical wiring and instrumentation was replaced.

For twenty years, without a major problem or incident, #44-83575 served as a fire bomber dropping water and borate on forest fires. She was sold in January 1986 to the Collings Foundation. Restored back to her original wartime configuration by Tom Reilly Vintage Aircraft, she represented one of the finest B-17 restorations and won several awards.

Photo credit: Tascam3438 via Wikipedia


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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