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winchman
06-27-2011, 02:33 AM
With all the old plane buffs here, I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned. This is a copy of the letter of acknowledgment out of an email I received from a friend who knows the pilot.


First, let me start off by sincerely thanking everyone for the outpouring of support that we are receiving. I am sorry that I have not yet had the opportunity to return the many phone calls, text or e-mails that I am receiving offering to help. Again, thank you for all of the kind words that we are receiving and for incredible offers to help emotionally, financially and/or with the recovery process. I hope this statement will help fill in a few details that everyone is wondering about that led to the loss of our “Liberty Belle”.

Yesterday morning, both our P-40 and B-17 were scheduled to fly from Aurora, Illinois to Indianapolis, Indiana. We were in Aurora for the weekend as a part of our scheduled tour. Over the course of the previous week, we completed a scheduled 25-hour inspection on the B-17 which was completed by Saturday. On Saturday, the weather stayed below the required ceiling to give any passenger flights, however the B-17 flew in the morning on a routine training proficiency flight, performing several patterns. Following the flight, other maintenance issues arose that required us to cancel our Sunday flying schedule for repairs. The maintenance performed has not been, in any way, associated to the chain of events that led to Monday’s fateful flight, but is being considered in the preliminary investigation. However, due to the media’s sensational (mis)reporting, there is a large amount of misinformation that continues to lead the news.

Here is what we do know… Flying in the left seat of the B-17 was Capt. John Hess. John has been flying our Liberty Belle since 2005 and one of our most experienced B-17 pilots. He is an active Delta Air Lines Captain with over 14,000 hours of flying experience and flys a variety of vintage WWII aircraft. In the right seat was Bud Sittic. While Bud is new to the Liberty Foundation this year, he is also incredibly experienced with over 14,000 hours of flying time in vintage and hi-performance aircraft. He is a retired Captain with Delta Air Lines.

The news misidentified the P-40 as flying chase during the accident. I was flying our P-40, however I had departed 20 minutes prior to the B-17’s takeoff on the short flight to Indianapolis to setup for the B-17’s arrival. The aircraft flying chase was a T-6 Texan flown by owner Cullen Underwood. Cullen is one of our rated B-17 Captains and an experienced aviator tagging along as a support ship.

The takeoff of both aircraft was uneventful and proceeded on-course southeast. Prior to exiting Aurora’s airport traffic area, the B-17 crew and passengers began investigating an acrid smell and started a turn back to the airport. Almost immediately thereafter, Cullen spotted flames coming from the left wing and reported over the radio that they were on fire.

As all pilots know, there are few emergency situations that are more critical than having an in-flight fire. While it is extremely rare, it can (and sometimes does) indiscriminately affect aircraft of any age or type. In-flight fires have led to the loss of not only aircraft, but often can result in catastrophic loss of life. It requires an immediate action on the flight crew, as the integrity of aircraft structure, systems and critical components are in question.

Directly below the B-17 was a farmer’s field and the decision was made to land immediately. Approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds from the radio report of the fire, the B-17 was down safely on the field. Within that 1:40 time frame, the crew shutdown and feathered the number 2 engine, activated the engine’sfire suppression system, lowered the landing gear and performed an on-speed landing. Bringing the B-17 to a quick stop, the crew and passengers quickly and safely exited the aircraft. Overhead in the T-6, Cullen professionally coordinated and directed the firefighting equipment which was dispatched by Aurora Tower to the landing location.

Unlike the sensational photos that you have all seen of the completely burned B-17 on the news, you will see from photos taken by our crew that our Liberty Belle was undamaged by the forced landing and at the time of landing, the wing fire damage was relatively small. The crew actually unloaded bags, then had the horrible task of watching the aircraft slowly burn while waiting for the fire trucks to arrive. There were high hopes that the fire would be extinguished quickly and the damage would be repairable. Those hopes were diminished as the fire trucks deemed the field too soft to cross due to the area’s recent rainfall. So while standing by our burning B-17 and watching the fire trucks parked at the field’s edge, they sadly watched the wing fire spread to the aircraft’s fuel cells and of course, you all have seen the end result. There is no doubt that had the fire equipment been able to reach our aircraft, the fire would have been quickly extinguished and our Liberty Belle would have been repaired to continue her worthwhile mission.

Let me go on the record by thanking the flight crew for their professionalism. Their actions were nothing short of heroic and their quick thinking, actions and experience led to a “successful” outcome to this serious in-flight emergency. John and Bud (and Cullen) did a remarkable job under extreme circumstances and performed spectacularly. While the leading news stories have repeatedly reported the “crash” of our B-17, fact is they made a successful forced landing and the aircraft was ultimately consumed by fire. Airplanes are replaceable but people are not and while the aircraft’s loss is tragic, it was a successful result.

This leads me into discussing the exceptional safety record of the Boeing B-17 and to hopefully squash the naysayers who preach we should not be flying these types of aircraft. Since we first flew the “Liberty Belle” in December of 2004, we have flown over 20,000 passengers throughout the country and if you count our historic trip to Europe in 2008, worldwide. Of the other touring B-17s, some of which that have been touring for over 20 years, they have safely flown hundreds of thousands of people. The aircraft’s safety record is spectacular and I am certain the overall cause of our issue, which is under investigation, will not tarnish that safety record. In fact, as many of you know, other B-17 have suffered significant damage (although not as bad as ours!), only to be re-built to fly again. From a passenger carrying standpoint, I can think of few aircraft that offer the same level of safety as the 4-engine “Flying Fortress”. As mentioned earlier, in-flight fires are extremely rare and certainly could affect any powered aircraft under certain circumstances. I would put my children today in any of the other touring B-17s to go fly. I suggest to anyone that was thinking of doing so when a B-17 visits your area to do so without giving our loss any thought.

There is wild speculation going on as to the cause of our fire and the affect to other operators. Please let the investigation run its course and report the findings. The NTSB and FAA were quickly on the scene and we are working closely with them to aid in the investigation. As soon as we receive some additional information, we will release it via the website http://www.libertyfoundation.org/.

The ultimate question remains, where does the Liberty Foundation go from here? After the investigation and recovery, we will determine our options. We are still committed to the restoration and flying of World War II aircraft. Again, we appreciate the support and people offering to help get us back flying.

Please check back for updates. I will close by thanking everyone that made our tour so successful. From the first day of the B-17’s restoration, thank you for all of you who labored to get her flying over the initial restoration years and to everyone that has worked on her out on tour since. Thank you to the crewmembers, tour coordinators and volunteers who gave up weekends and countless hours to support her on the road. And finally, thank you to the passengers, donors and media patrons that flew aboard and everyone who supported our cause. Hopefully, this will not be the end of the story, but a new beginning.

Regards,

Ray Fowler

The Liberty Foundation, Chief Pilot

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/B-17%20pictures/B173.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/B-17%20pictures/B175.jpg

More pictures here:
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/1003/winchman/B-17%20pictures/

The plane was based in Douglas, Georgia, and I'd seen it flying and on the ground several times.

Evan
06-27-2011, 02:55 AM
That's sad. The news media hire people based on appearence, not intellecual capability. If the aircarft was sitting in that field in pristine condition they would still report it had crashed because it isn't on a runway.


In fact, as many of you know, other B-17 have suffered significant damage (although not as bad as ours!), only to be re-built to fly again.

Sure, just like George Washinton's axe. Two new heads and three new handles but it is still the same axe....

jugs
06-27-2011, 02:58 AM
Sad to lose another bit of history but good no one was hurt.

john
:)

sch
06-27-2011, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the back ground story on the plane.
This was reminiscent of the Nova program on the amazing repair and
start up of the bomber that had landed intact in Greenland 50+ yrs
prior only to have the ad hoc auxiliary power unit catch
on fire and burn the plane up.

aboard_epsilon
06-27-2011, 07:22 AM
I thought you were on about this at first ..this would be more of a loss me thinks ..well they lost it once before.

http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/grissom-liberty-bell.gif

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/330000/images/_334671_bell300.jpg

all the best.markj

Your Old Dog
06-27-2011, 07:27 AM
That's sad. The news media hire people based on appearence, not intellecual capability. If the aircarft was sitting in that field in pristine condition they would still report it had crashed because it isn't on a runway.



Sure, just like George Washinton's axe. Two new heads and three new handles but it is still the same axe....

Bingo. It's all about how well you can bob your head while speaking. I worked in the business and know what you say is true. The goal is not truth but ratings (read: revenue) and you pump up the story to get the ratings.

John Stevenson
06-27-2011, 07:32 AM
Health and safety have a lot to answer for, 10 years ago they would have ploughed the field up to get there, now it's easier to fill forms in.

Tragic

sasquatch
06-27-2011, 07:40 AM
A sad event for sure!!!

And yes agree,, the media cannot be trusted to report anything with full truth in it, Those moron reporters some of them hire, haven,t a clue about most things, i personally find the news reports very annoying, a bunch of rank amatures.

Rustybolt
06-27-2011, 07:52 AM
Health and safety have a lot to answer for, 10 years ago they would have ploughed the field up to get there, now it's easier to fill forms in.

Tragic



Yeah. I would imagine that if a B17 could land on it wheels down then a freakin' fire truck could drive on it. At least see how far their hoses could reach. Not very heroic.

Winchman. Was it airport safety or the Sugar Grove fire department that responded? Sugar Grove is notoriously corrupt and resents the City of Auroras' ownership of the airport.

john hobdeclipe
06-27-2011, 07:59 AM
I saw the news reports of this right after it happened, and was equally disgusted by the poor reporting...referring to the event as a "crash" or "crash landing."

As for the fire dept; I think any field that is firm enough to successfully land a heavy taildragger in without nosing over should be able to handle a little fire truck or two.

Still, it hurts to see another of these magnificent aircraft destroyed.

sasquatch
06-27-2011, 08:10 AM
I,m thinking this is probably another case of the liability issues that are so prevelant today.

No one wants to take a chance anymore, due to getting sued.

"Like,, we better not drive onto that wet field, cause if we bury the fire truck in the mud, and another emergency call comes in,,and we can't respond, we,re going to be in big trouble."

Here, at least in Ontario we have what is called "Mutal Aid", if a truck or crew is in this situation another fire dept will cover for them till it,s over.

radkins
06-27-2011, 08:31 AM
Sure, just like George Washinton's axe. Two new heads and three new handles but it is still the same axe....



I get a chuckle out of hearing people talk about the P38" "Glacier Girl" that was dug out of the ice after sitting there since WWII, as if it it is actually the same airplane.:rolleyes: I live less than 10 miles from from the airport where this plane was "rebuilt" and watched the progress from the time it arrived, it was crushed (contrary to popular belief but not nearly as badly as the B17s that were there also) and corroded badly with precious few (rebuildable to) airworthy parts. The crew that did the "restoration" of course did a fantastic and admiral job but there is hardly any of the original aircraft left, landing gear parts, a section of the left tail boom, etc so at what point does a restoration become a brand new airplane that utilizes a few parts from a donor aircraft? Kind of like the old car restoration joke of "jacking up the radiator cap and running a new car under it".



Before the flaming starts I am not trying to belittle the owner, restoration crew or the heroic effort that went into this project. The owner spent a fortune and many people worked tirelessly to bring this aircraft to life, so much money and effort went into it that I suppose they earned the right to call it anything they want.

J Tiers
06-27-2011, 09:16 AM
I suppose this is a "flame"........ it is widely known that ALL I do on this board is flame people......... or at least SOME people. :rolleyes: ;)

But I think a reastoration is a restoration. parts are parts. You get them from the factory, you get them from anotehr unrestorable unit, or you make them, if, as in that case, they are not available.

if it is rebuilt into a Cessna, that's one thing. But if it is rebuilt into a P-38, what's wrong?

In Ohio, apparently you can't title a home-built car. But if you have a title and a frame fragment that has the VIN (or equivalent), you can attach that to almost anything and there it is... that titled vehicle. of course it is a complete fiction.

I personally don't give a rip if it is 'the same airplane" to the last part, or even the majority of them. If it is built as a P-38, from the prints or design, it is one. if it has at least SOME "provenence" tracing to an original aircraft that's better, I guess, although I am not really certain WHY it is *that much* better.

Perhaps because if it is "original", it has more "forensic historical value". Anything else is more of an "historical interpretation" than a historic artifact.

boaterri
06-27-2011, 09:46 AM
I worked in TV news for almost 18 years, as an engineer and Live Truck technician and eventually (probably to shut me up) after years of reminding them that an emergency landing is not a "crash" landing unless you break the aircraft while landing it, they finally started getting it right.

Yes, TV reporters, writers and producers can be some of the more ignorant and arrogent people passing on "news". Some, however, with enough polite but forceful correction are educatable.

Let me add my condolances to the list to the Liberty Foundation for it's loss.

Rick

Stuart Br
06-27-2011, 10:48 AM
The real credit for this must go to the pilot who got every everyone down safely and it is definitely a tragic loss of fine aircraft. My thoughts go out all involved.

The discussion spinning OT onto using "non original "parts made me immediately think of a classic scene from the UK sit-com "Only Fools and Horses", where Trigger won an award for cost saving for having the oldest broom in the council. the punch line is very relevant to the topic.
It's worth a 90 seconds of your time, for some classic British comedy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbha4XclSMU

kbertoson
06-27-2011, 10:49 AM
The aircraft exists as an airplane if you have the data plate. With that plate you can rebuild the aircraft.

radkins
06-27-2011, 11:52 AM
I suppose this is a "flame"........ it is widely known that ALL I do on this board is flame people......... or at least SOME people. :rolleyes: ;)

But I think a reastoration is a restoration. parts are parts. You get them from the factory, you get them from anotehr unrestorable unit, or you make them, if, as in that case, they are not available.

if it is rebuilt into a Cessna, that's one thing. But if it is rebuilt into a P-38, what's wrong?

In Ohio, apparently you can't title a home-built car. But if you have a title and a frame fragment that has the VIN (or equivalent), you can attach that to almost anything and there it is... that titled vehicle. of course it is a complete fiction.

I personally don't give a rip if it is 'the same airplane" to the last part, or even the majority of them. If it is built as a P-38, from the prints or design, it is one. if it has at least SOME "provenence" tracing to an original aircraft that's better, I guess, although I am not really certain WHY it is *that much* better.

Perhaps because if it is "original", it has more "forensic historical value". Anything else is more of an "historical interpretation" than a historic artifact.


I think you missed the point, I never said it was not a P38 I said (IMO) it was not the SAME P38 that was dragged out from under the ice. It certainly is a a P38 whether it was built by Lockheed or a team of of custom builders BUT if it uses only a small fraction of the original parts is it still the same airplane? The airplane as it is now was restored/constructed using blueprints from the Smithsonian and using old parts as templates when possible, basically an army of workers including a lot of vocational school help built this thing from the ground up. I am not 100% certain that parts were not scrounged from other aircraft but I believe that to be the case so if true which aircraft was restored?




Years ago I knew a guy in Michigan who was involved in a motorcycle accident that killed his best friend who was a passenger. His buddy that died had a 1948 Harley that he had planned to rebuild, he had owned this bike since high school and prized it highly so Ronny decided he was going to "restore" this bike as a tribute to his lost friend. First he decided that the bike would look great with that new chrome custom springer front fork he saw at the bike shop along with that beautiful chrome plated oil tank, these of course went with the new wheels. Later when he discovered the frame would need mods for the new front fork he bought a new frame for the fork with built in rake and a soft-tail suspension. Same thing happened to the engine, when he took it to the shop for a rebuild he found he could buy a new engine for only slightly more money and it was available for sale immediately instead of waiting weeks on the old one to be overhauled. To shorten this long story I don't think there is a single nut or bolt or anything else left of the original bike except for the title and he could have built this thing just as it is without destroying the old bike which he did a piece at a time! To this day he still proudly claims to have rebuilt and customized that 1948 Harley but did he really?

gwilson
06-27-2011, 12:15 PM
I really hate to see this happen. Just a few years ago another WWII plane(P-40?) crashed. Killed the pilot,I think,too. How many can be left flying by now?

Is there another flying B-29 other than Fi-Fi ?

JCHannum
06-27-2011, 02:00 PM
Aluminum Overcast is still flying;

http://www.b17.org/

FWIW, you can title a home built auto in Ohio. The completed vehicle is subject to inspection and all receipts must be kept as proof of purchase. This is to prevent use of stolen components. After that registration and titling is the same as with any other vehicle.

rdfeil
06-27-2011, 04:38 PM
What a tragic loss to our history. My most sincere condolences to the foundation, pilots, crew and volunteers for their (and our) loss. Also, my greatest congratulations to the pilots and crew for making a successful emergency LANDING with no injuries or loss of life, Great job!!!

Now on to the fire department :mad: :confused: ......

I was in the fire service for many years as both a volunteer and paid fire fighter. In our smaller department we had all sorts of possible situations from the normal house fires, brush fires etc. and a local airport with the associated risks. Now I don't know this specific situation but... If this would have happened in our area we definitely would have tried to get to the aircraft to put out the fire, not stayed on the edge of the field and watched it burn. The safety of people always comes first then property. Trying to get to the aircraft with the trucks would have been paramount after life safety. Who cares if the truck sinks in the field, at least you tried. After the fire is out you can always dig out the trucks, if you loose one while trying to get to an emergency the insurance will buy a new one. Now as I said above the safety of people comes first, this includes the fire fighters, but not trying really sits wrong with me and my current level of respect for that fire response crew is very low :mad: .

tdmidget
06-27-2011, 07:02 PM
rdfeil , you are correct. In fact, the department in question is now in danger of a suit for failure to respond. They stopped short of the actual fire scene and refused to continue. If they got stuck , so what? That's what wreckers and tow trucks are for. I think somebody did not want to wash the mud off the machines back at the house. Lawsuit material, in my book. I am also a former firefighter and I can assure you that we ran machines into much worse than plowed fields to get the job done. Apparently they were too delicate to lay hose by hand to get there.

John Stevenson
06-27-2011, 07:14 PM
One of my ex-apprentices is a fire fighter at the local airport and they practice off road situations all the while. All their fire vehicles are 6 x 6 in any case

When you think about it that short bit of tarmac is about 1% of the run up to landing.

Next to the airport is the Donington Park race track and they have permission to plough all over this area for training.

The fire crew are also responsible for medical problems all over the site as well as first responders whilst the ambulance is called, just a few weeks ago a guy in the DHL parcels warehouse had a severe heart attack and they were able to stabilise him until the paramedics got there.

The Artful Bodger
06-27-2011, 08:52 PM
Regarding the actions of the fire crew, a quick glance at the picture shows the tail wheel just about axle deep in the mud so the fire crew were probably quite right in not trying to drive across the field.

Plus, at least at our airports, the primary responsibility of the airport fire service is the airport which would be another reason to not risk getting bogged in a farmer's field.

The fact that this was an aircraft burning does not change the facts and hard though it may be to accept the fire crew probably did the right thing by not jeopardising protection for users of the airport by risking getting trapped in the mud once they knew everyone was out of the plane.

RB211
06-27-2011, 09:33 PM
I could not imagine that there are any fire crews at airports who are not dying to actually get to use their training to put out a burning airplane. I am sure the fire crew themselves are just as heart broken.

J Tiers
06-27-2011, 09:48 PM
Regarding the actions of the fire crew, a quick glance at the picture shows the tail wheel just about axle deep in the mud so the fire crew were probably quite right in not trying to drive across the field.
Plus, at least at our airports, the primary responsibility of the airport fire service is the airport which would be another reason to not risk getting bogged in a farmer's field.


That is an excellent point, although I think the tire contact PSI is probably higher for the aircraft than for the truck, if the truck has the standard large tires generally found on airport type fire apparatus. *

If so, they might have had little problem. Does anyone know the capabilites of the type there? Were these airport trucks, or standard type?

But that "might" is a notable point. What would have been the result in lawsuits if they had indeed been bogged, and as a result could not respond to another emergency back at the airport, or wherever they were based?

All that was burning was 'stuff", and by the time they got to the site, the chances for saving the main structure were quite possibly gone, without a 'restoration" at least as extensive as the P-38 that was mentioned.

As for that "spinning off topic", here I am flaming the world again as usual: I don't CARE if it is "the same" aircraft. Whining about that gets nowhere. if it is a P-38, and it contains at least some of the original parts, that's good enough for me. The "Liberty Belle" would take more than that.

What if The P-38 went back to Lockheed in 1944, or more likely 1946, and was rebuilt the same way by some of the original workers on the same tooling (which was all cut up by then, but.........). Would there be whining about that?

It would be different if, say, the "Night Watch" in Amsterdam was gone except for a square meter of the middle, and the rest was "restored" by modern restoration experts from photos...... That would be worth practically zip, IMO.

* Airport trucks are heavy, but also have really huge tires, and as I understand it, are built to get to the scene even in bad conditions. OTOH, the "Belle" was not loaded other than fuel, so would have been considerably lighter than max, and if it sank in as-is, could be a problem.

Evan
06-27-2011, 10:25 PM
Regarding the actions of the fire crew, a quick glance at the picture shows the tail wheel just about axle deep in the mud so the fire crew were probably quite right in not trying to drive across the field.


Could be just flat from the fire.

franco
06-27-2011, 10:33 PM
I personally don't give a rip if it is 'the same airplane" to the last part, or even the majority of them. If it is built as a P-38, from the prints or design, it is one. if it has at least SOME "provenence" tracing to an original aircraft that's better, I guess, although I am not really certain WHY it is *that much* better.

Perhaps because if it is "original", it has more "forensic historical value". Anything else is more of an "historical interpretation" than a historic artifact.

This is not a new discussion topic. Hudson Fysh in "Qantas Rising" gave this early example relating to an engine used in the DH50 airliners used by Qantas in the twenties:

QUOTE: The Siddely Puma was our main engine in those days and ran some 100 hours between top overhauls, and from 250 to 300 hours between general overhauls. A lot of trouble was experienced with cylinder blocks and pistons, and connecting rod failures were fairly frequent, and new parts were needed all the time.

I remember Arthur Baird coming my office one day and requesting that I settle a question of engine numbering. A Siddely Puma had been overhauled and new parts put in so many times that at last only the original crankshaft remained, and now it also had to be renewed. Would the now entirely renewed engine be allocated a new number or we carry on with the old? We decided to retain the old number. END QUOTE.

So was that the right decision?

franco

aostling
06-27-2011, 11:01 PM
My father Roy, who died in 2005, would have been saddened by this news. He was a project engineer who started his 40-year career at Boeing in 1937. During WWII he was assigned to the B-17, signing off on hundreds of drawings.

At age 75 he joined the team which restored the Boeing Bee, the airworthy B17F now on display at the Museum of Flight.

Jim Caudill
06-28-2011, 05:41 AM
The question of rebuilding an aircraft (or axe, ship, etc) is a long standing one, having been asked by thoughtful gentlemen many years ago. I believe in legal circles, the "Ship of Theseus" is the one that is cited, but as Evan points out, George Washington's axe (or Abe Lincoln's) illustrate the same concept. The Ship of Theseus carries with it the interesting idea that if you gathered up all the replacemnt parts (as they were removed for replacement) and then reassembled them, which would be the true "Ship of Theseus"?

Here's a link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

Thruthefence
06-28-2011, 09:31 AM
I guarantee you, that had the fire trucks responded & attempted to fight the fire, there would be a great hue & cry from people bitching about Guv'mt resources being deployed to rescue some "rich man's toy'', ie, the Aircraft. The scene was "off airport', and had they responded, there would be calls to reimburse the airport authority for labor costs, equipment wear & tear, and material usage, (it ain't just water, in the trucks), and post event maintenance checks on the trucks.

The Feds fund much of this equipment, and they would be going after somebody.

(If indeed the trucks were from the airport, which I am not sure about.)

Couple of years ago I had the opportunity to assist in "de bogging" an aircraft that ended up in the infield due to a brake problem. My tug became entombed up to the axles itself.

Here's what came over to pull ME out:

http://tinyurl.com/3k34l3b

So yeah, IMHO the trucks COULD have rolled on the fire.

Damn shame about the B-17, for sure.

Rustybolt
06-28-2011, 09:59 AM
That is why I asked if it was the Aurora airport fire department or Sugar Grove.
Sugar grove abuts-actually surrounds the airport. Aurora Municiple airport is connected to the city limits of Aurora by 3 miles of Geneva street.





True story.
My BIL is one of the ten civil engineers that work for the city of Aurora. One day a budget meeting was to take place involving all the city engineers. When the mayor and his staff came and got the meeting underway someone noticed that there were 11 engineers at the table. No one could remember ever seeing number eleven before.
Who was he?
The engineer at Aurora airport.
How come we never saw you before?
He was never invited to the meetings.
What did he do at the airport.
Sit in his office all day.
He was fired on the spot.

Rex
06-28-2011, 04:22 PM
I suspect the Liberty Bell Foundation would have gladly paid the expense of putting out the fire, and related costs, if the plane had been saved.
I'm with the "the firetrucks should have attempted" camp.

Evan
06-28-2011, 05:02 PM
I call total BS that the field was too soft for the trucks. The weight of that aircraft with a light fuel load and crew would be around 36,000 lbs, 18 tons.

The great majority of the weight is on the main gear with less than 10% on the tail wheel. The B17 only has 2 main wheels so each is carrying over 8 tons in this photo.

http://ixian.ca/pics8/b17fire.jpg

topct
06-28-2011, 05:57 PM
Can that fire departments report be made available?

rohart
06-28-2011, 08:13 PM
markj: I'm not sure that's the most appropriate photo to illustrate this thread.

Unless I'm mistaken, it shows Virgil Grissom in his suit before he and his two colleagues perished in the oxygen fire.

But a good connection to make, anyhow.

Bmyers
06-28-2011, 09:11 PM
markj: I'm not sure that's the most appropriate photo to illustrate this thread.

Unless I'm mistaken, it shows Virgil Grissom in his suit before he and his two colleagues perished in the oxygen fire.

But a good connection to make, anyhow.

You are mistaken, Gus Grissom flew in Liberty Bell.

38_Cal
06-28-2011, 09:54 PM
I guarantee you, that had the fire trucks responded & attempted to fight the fire, there would be a great hue & cry from people bitching about Guv'mt resources being deployed to rescue some "rich man's toy'', ie, the Aircraft. The scene was "off airport', and had they responded, there would be calls to reimburse the airport authority for labor costs, equipment wear & tear, and material usage, (it ain't just water, in the trucks), and post event maintenance checks on the trucks.




No real difference between a "rich man's toy" that's flown by a foundation and a static museum display other than more folks get to see the flying machine across the country than get to a museum. And to my mind, a fire department that takes tax dollars to operate has just as much of an obligation to put out a fire on a landed airplane as a house, museum or factory fire!

David

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 09:59 PM
Boy, speaking from 25 years of experience in TV stations, all I can say is that is so true. I once worked with a news anchor in a major market city who could not even set his digital watch to the correct time. Honestly, a true story. You just can't make this up.

Paul A.


That's sad. The news media hire people based on appearence, not intellecual capability. If the aircarft was sitting in that field in pristine condition they would still report it had crashed because it isn't on a runway.



Sure, just like George Washinton's axe. Two new heads and three new handles but it is still the same axe....

Evan
06-28-2011, 10:09 PM
That isn't an off the cuff statement of mine. I used to spend a lot of time at a couple of main television stations with a friend of mine who was the master switcher at CFRN and then ITV back in the 70s when it was all done by hand. He worked the evening shift and I would hang out with him as he switched the evening news. He is still one of my best friends. Nothing has changed since then, the news reporters were just as cluless then as they are now. The biggest difference now is that there is a lot more for them to be clueless about.

J Tiers
06-28-2011, 11:29 PM
I bet you folks thought the "evening news" was about news......

Hate to break it to you, but it AIN'T about news.

You can guess what it REALLY is about. And figure out if accurate news without sensationalism would affect that.


I call total BS that the field was too soft for the trucks. The weight of that aircraft with a light fuel load and crew would be around 36,000 lbs, 18 tons.

The great majority of the weight is on the main gear with less than 10% on the tail wheel. The B17 only has 2 main wheels so each is carrying over 8 tons in this photo.

About what I mentioned above, but I didn't have the numbers, and so was not certain.

A person would already know that, if they thought about it.... if teh field was that deep in mud, how did they get the plane down without standing it on it's nose (or as far over as it would go)?

Yep, it's BS, apparently someone didn't pay the right persons around there.

Evan
06-28-2011, 11:53 PM
It occured to me that they may have been afraid to go near it. It is (was) a bomber with guns all over it. Maybe they thought it was loaded.

RB211
06-29-2011, 01:19 AM
Hmm, All of it makes as much sense as any aviation business model... Looks like the engines are salvageable, maybe...

topct
06-29-2011, 07:44 AM
More pictures here,

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-110613-b17-plane-crash-pictures,0,3672607.photogallery

Looks like it happened very quickly.

Evan
06-29-2011, 07:57 AM
You don't know how long it was between pictures, especially the first to second.

The usual crap in the caption:


Seven crew members and volunteers walked away without serious injury after a World War II "Flying Fortress" B-17 bomber called the "Liberty Belle" crashed and burned in a cornfield southeast of Aurora Municipal Airport, officials say.

topct
06-29-2011, 08:43 AM
You don't know how long it was between pictures, especially the first to second.

The usual crap in the caption:

You know very well how fast a fuel fire can grow.

I was more interested in the pictures of the fire trucks. One appears to have came to a stop as it gradually sunk deeper into the ground. One looks like it drove in without to much trouble. And they look to be about as close as they should get to a fire like that. They don't show any larger trucks so I'll presume that those small trucks were all they had. They would have to have been there at the moment the fire started to have had any hope of putting it out.

Having fought impossible fires I know the helpless feeling those guys must have felt watching the plane burn. There was nothing they could have done differently given the time frame and the equipment on hand.

I agree about the use of the "crash" word instead of "landing", but I feel dwelling on that issue is rather pointless.

Evan
06-29-2011, 01:38 PM
It isn't often that I make a statement that is then immediately confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt by current events. The Sun News Network in Canada is making a big deal about launching their new network today. The primary focus is on their News Anchor with pictures splashed all over the net.

How appropriate to my comments:

http://ixian.ca/pics8/newsanchor.jpg


Sun News Network launches tonight! Catch Krista weekdays from 3-5pm ET. (Mark O'Neill photo)

http://www.torontosun.com/sunshine-girl/2011/04/18/krista

Rustybolt
06-29-2011, 02:24 PM
Rt 71 and Minkler is about 5 miles as the crow flies SSE from the airport. Closer to Oswego than Yorkville and south of the Fox river.
It was more than likely the Oswego fire department. Looks like they were a little leery of getting their big equipment in the field. The nearest hydrant is probably more than a mile away.
A shame. It was a beautiful machine
I'll be interested to see the NTSB report.

Evan
06-29-2011, 04:17 PM
Based on the story linked above it was probably Sugar Grove.


The B-17, christened the "Liberty Belle," took off from the airport at 9:30 a.m. and made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Highway 71 and Minkler Road in Oswego after the pilot reported an engine fire, according to Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkle.

wierdscience
06-29-2011, 07:50 PM
What a shame,beautiful old war bird gone,well it was a good landing anyway,everybody walked away from it.

I take it the crew had no way to fight the fire either,no extinguishers.

Did the 17's have any fire suppression?

RB211
06-29-2011, 08:15 PM
What a shame,beautiful old war bird gone,well it was a good landing anyway,everybody walked away from it.

I take it the crew had no way to fight the fire either,no extinguishers.

Did the 17's have any fire suppression?

I believe they did for the engines...
Anyhow, these airplanes are made out of paper thin metal, once things get hot enough, might as well be made out of tissue paper.