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OT: Sad day in aviation: Collings B17 has crashed

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  • #31
    Originally posted by RB211 View Post
    Reports of the #3 engine taking a dump. I have no idea on a B17 how much that would affect climb out with 13 people on board.
    ...
    Does not seem as if that would be so much of an issue...

    But, for obvious reasons, according to discussions I had with folks when I was at an air show at Spirit of St Louis airport years ago, the engines are not run at the power capability they had in service, in order not to over stress them. No turbo boost, just whatever is in the engine to begin with, which I would need to look up, now. So the power reserve might not be anything near what it was in service. I think there is a single geared blower internal to the R1820.

    Still with a load of perhaps a ton of people, a number near what may have been in the aircraft as crew when operational, the lack of payload, and probable smaller fuel load, one would think that 3 engines would be enough to stay in the air. They did fly, at least, in operations, with 2 engines out and a lot of structural damage and drag. That presumably would not allow at all for a climb, but this is described as a single engine out with no other damage and next to no load. Dunno.....

    it sounds as if there may have been another factor, or some damage that was a consequence of the failure. No feathering would be a definite issue, although I thought the propellers failed default in the feathered position by design.
    Last edited by J Tiers; 10-03-2019, 01:56 PM.
    CNC machines only go through the motions

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    • #32
      Edited as to not speculate.
      Last edited by RB211; 10-06-2019, 11:22 PM.

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      • #33
        Probably one of my all time favorite airplanes.

        The fact the plane radioed that it was returning to the field and then answered a controller's question with the reply that it had problems with #4 makes me think they had dealt with the problem and it was nothing more than a 3 engine approach. I would imagine they had done plenty of such approaches before in practice and shouldn't have been a big deal.

        Just guessing, of course, but whatever led to them shutting down the engine, whether mechanical, fire, prop, etc. may have cascaded into something that affected the airframe or aileron.

        Just seems that one engine out on a light B17 would not be much of a problem.
        George
        Traverse City, MI

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        • #34
          Originally posted by QSIMDO View Post
          In the second photo...what the hell was that below and behind?!
          Looks like a koala

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
            I don't profess to be any sor of an aviation expert, but I have to admit I was always surprised to hear that these things were still being flown at all. I mean, being in excess of seventy years old, built in a rush in the first place, with an expected lifespan of something like two sorties, tops, there has to be things like metal fatigue and whatnot going on.

            Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that they are still flying, but actual flight, of course, puts considerable wear-and-tear on what are rapidly becoming precious antiques.

            I mean, I'd love to see the Blackbird fly again, but on the flip side I'd hate to see it crash, losing another example of a rare and noteworthy aircraft. (Besides the concurrent inevitable loss of life.)
            Plenty of DC3s are still flying. DC3s are still very safe.

            Lots of twin Otters and Beavers still fly today as well.

            What is lacking is the mechanical expertise to keep older technology working properly. How many people under the age of 40 have changed plugs or can do compression tests on radials and can tell you what exhaust valve has failed?

            I'm going out on limb and say one or 2 of the engines dropped an exhaust valve. If I was an investigator that's the first place I would start.

            My condolences to the families involved. It is a terrible situation.
            www.thecogwheel.net

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            • #36
              What is significant to me, looking at the wreckage, is that it is upright, as though the landing or subsequent roll out was off course. It doesn't look like it hit the building with much force.

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              • #37
                God bless the souls aboard and their families.

                I had a chance to climb around the Yankee Air Force's B-17 Yankee Lady a number of years ago while it was in the Willow Run hangar they occupied at the time. In those days the common Yankee Air Force (now Museum) member could access most of the planes close up, and if you didn't get in the way, crawl around for some pictures of the insides. I have a few of the bomb bay, oxygen system, and cockpit that I cherish.

                It was under a full restoration then, and has since flown many hours in shows and other appearances. The level of care and maintenance being done in the restoration and upkeep of this plane, by these people, is simply amazing. It is a real shame that this example of what preserved all of our liberties for decades is now gone.
                S E Michigan

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                • #38
                  With 13 souls aboard, no bomb load or ammo, this ship should have performed very well on 3 engines. I believe the war time crew count was 10 in each ship, but add to that a heavy bomb load, gas, and ammo, it still had good engine out performance.

                  Not being a pilot, I have to admire the pilots who are certified to fly these planes. They are real pros and are very serious about what they do and how they do it, including I would guess, engine out drills.

                  All we can do is await the NTSB report on the cause. Likely to take months.

                  It is a sad day in aviation.
                  S E Michigan

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                  • #39
                    As to "why would they even fly such a museum piece?" goes: The Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Michigan derives 40% of their income from rides on their 3 warbirds. In addition the the B-17, they have a B-25 and a C-47. They also have a Waco biplane that provides open cockpit thrills. According to their magazine, "Aproaches", those planes are busy; in fact the C-47 was at the Zanesville, OH model engineering show put on by DeBolt Engineering, held at the airport.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by OaklandGB View Post

                      Not being a pilot, I have to admire the pilots who are certified to fly these planes. They are real pros and are very serious about what they do and how they do it, including I would guess, engine out drills.

                      All we can do is await the NTSB report on the cause. Likely to take months.
                      While in line and waiting for my flight on Nine 0 Nine I spent several hours close enough to the ticket booth to overhear the conversation of the workers. Two youngsters (in their 20s????) were talking about which planes each was cleared to fly when shuttling them between air shows. It was a point of pride to be able to fly the war birds that were under their care. I was taken aback at first that a small and very young lady was cleared to fly the Mitchell. Then it came back to me that the average age of a WWII bomber pilot was only 21.
                      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                      Location: SF East Bay.

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                      • #41
                        Speculation as to what happened in the air is still open but according to various news reports "During the landing attempt, officials said the plane hit a landing instrument station, veered to the right, crossed the runway, and then struck a de-icing facility."

                        Why he couldn't clear the instrument station is open to conjecture but he certainly wasn't on a normal approach.
                        Len

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by danlb View Post
                          While in line and waiting for my flight on Nine 0 Nine I spent several hours close enough to the ticket booth to overhear the conversation of the workers. Two youngsters (in their 20s????) were talking about which planes each was cleared to fly when shuttling them between air shows. It was a point of pride to be able to fly the war birds that were under their care. I was taken aback at first that a small and very young lady was cleared to fly the Mitchell. Then it came back to me that the average age of a WWII bomber pilot was only 21.
                          If these young people are active multi engine flight instructors, they are probably some of the safer ones to go up with as well.

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                          • #43
                            Jdunmyer,

                            You hit the nail on the head. The old birds are very hard to get, and very expensive to maintain and fly. Thankfully, there is interest in the YAF museum and its flyable aircraft to help support these planes in flyable condition.

                            I recall a short conversation on the old YAF Willow Run hangar ramp, with a very small guy, named "Andy" who as a B 17 tail gunner. He was able to insert a little humor when we were chatting about what it was like back theree with two 50 cal guns to defend yourself and crew from the enemy planes.

                            He grinned a little when describing his "armor" as that small piece of heavy glass in front of him, while everything else around him wouldn't even stop a .22 cal round. He said he got into a habit of "scrunching up" as if he could hide behind that ballistic glass. Said he might as well have been sitting out in the air in a lawn chair as the incoming would pass right through the ship without any problem.

                            Not too many people can appreciate the gravity of the situation these men faced in the 1940s. It was looking very grim for the US for the first two years of the war. We faced massive losses of men and equipment and there was no assurance of anything coming out in our favor. They and their planes should be cherished for all time. Just my opinion.
                            S E Michigan

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                            • #44

                              You hit the nail on the head. The old birds are very hard to get, and very expensive to maintain and fly. Thankfully, there is interest in the YAF museum and its flyable aircraft to help support these planes in flyable condition.
                              It isn't just the cost to keep 'em flying, it's restoring them just for viewing. Right now, the YAF is raising funds to build a hanger for their flyable aircraft, as they're being evicted from the hanger that they've been allowed to use for many years. They managed to purchase a very tiny portion of the B-24 bomber plant ('only' 144,000 squire feet), and do some infrastructure work on it. The rest of the 5 million squire foot plant has been demo'd, they barely managed to save what they have.

                              About flying the planes: I once read that the tires on some of those a/c are good for only 50 landings, and you don't buy them at TireMan. :-)

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by QSIMDO View Post


                                In the second photo...what the hell was that below and behind?!
                                That could very possibly be nothing more than a bug very close to the camera.

                                Or an article of clothing. When I flew in Nine-O-Nine, one guy stood up and lost his hat out of the top hatch.

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