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Old 01-21-2021, 02:20 PM   #1
Buddahaid
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Default B-17 9 oh 9 Crash

Did anyone else catch this? I just found out from a friend that had taken a ride a few years ago.

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Old 01-21-2021, 03:08 PM   #2
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I rode on the Madras Maiden, awesome ride.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:17 PM   #3
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That was a couple years ago. At the time, it was suspected that the fuel was tainted and to blame, but IIRC the investigation found no evidence of this. Not sure the cause was ever determined, but a friend of mine familiar with it says the magnetos in a couple engines had issues and perhaps that was a contributing factor? I know Collings had their passenger permit revoked as a result.


I've been on this plane, but not in the air.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:44 PM   #4
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The guy in the video does a pretty good job of Monday morning quarterbacking the chain of events.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:56 PM   #5
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At work so didn't watch the video. What was the conclusion?
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:39 PM   #6
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I read about this when it happened, i take it this vid sums it up well.
Thorough going through what most probably happened by the narrator. Nice that some lhave the energy and determination to let those birds fly, on the other hand it seems like a critical lack of maintenance and security procedures, and training. The pilot was experienced, but maybe "a bit too much".

Engines 4 and 3 had had issues before, from corroded intermittent or failing magnetoes to ignition, to jury-rigged contacts and mass fails, and wrong spark plug gaps, and wrong contact breaker gaps as well. Plugs were also sooty and some of them seem to have not worked at all. Engine 3 would not start, then engine 4, moisture was removed with nitrogen spray via a tube installed for that purpose, then finally engines started in order of 3-4- and the rest. (I think the main generator or hydraulics supply is in engine 3, so it was mandatory to get this going first(?))
Some say they did a run-up test of the engines, others say they did not and the start was rushed.

The pilot had a problem with engine 4 a good minute after taking off, and the pilot probably expected this, knowing of the magneto problems of #4, but he was wrong. Engine 4 was "running rough" but it turned. Pilot informed the tower that they were going back, but declared no emergency.

He turned off engine 4 and feathered it - but really it was engine #3 which was in trouble and was losing more and more power due to predetonation and backfiring already at the start. So when this engine #3 now lost revs and power they finally had two engines off on the right side, and had to fly at an angle to make up for the sideslip, inducing very much drag and thus losing more speed and altitude.
It seems, that at no time was the plane higher than 400 feet, above the ground.

In the video the narrator says he should have left engine #4 on, a bit less performance is better than none. But i have no idea whether this was an option at this time.

The pilot then lowered the landing gear too early, resulting in even more drag and less speed long before the runway. Despite this they were almost aligned to and near the runway when speed went so low that they touched the ground some 300 feet before the strip, shearing off the runway's landing lights, the right gear touching down, and the plane veering off to the right - both left engines running at full speed and still adding energy, pulling the plane further to the right (If this is true, I have no idea why both left engines were not throttled down at this point), where it left the runway, ran over grass and a taxiing strip, and finally crashed into a building and burned.

Survivors said the passengers had not been informed how to leave the plane in an emergency, how to quickly unbuckle their seat belts and how those hatch locks worked. One of the passengers in the rear knew how to do it, without him there would probably been no survivors.

The narrator presses on the importance of proper training, it seems the co-pilot did not know enough of how to fly a B17, or help the pilot with trimming in emergencies, or acknowledging thorough shut off procedures (propellers 3 and 4 were not turning at impact, but 3 was also not feathered)

Adding to the later problems, primarily lacking engine maintenance seems to have been the core problem. Not declaring an emergency led to a delayed arrival of fire fighters and rescue personnell.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:39 PM   #7
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^ Awesome breakdown Catfish. It seems this was the aircraft I had heard about a few months ago. Although I never flew on it, We were allowed to board and view this aircraft in detail. I took numerous and detailed pictures of the aircraft and it's bomb bays.


They had a P-51 there along with a Russian Yakovlev Yak-3. There was also a B-25 Mitchell. A B-29 Super Fortress was scheduled to be there as well but was suffering mechanical difficulties and didn't make the show. There was also a T-6 Texan trainer there as well. They were offering rides on all these aircraft except the Russian Yak.


Edit: There was also a Japanese A6M " Zero " there too. Considering how few of them there are, I doubt it was an original and I never got close to it to see. I'm sure it was a reproduction but it looked fantastic.

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Old 01-22-2021, 04:03 AM   #8
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^ thanks

Very bad that pilots and some passengers died in this accident, and one more historic aircraft gone.

So you saw this very plane "live"
I envy you, it sure is an iconic and technically interesting plane .
A shame that there are so few flying events in Germany lately. And I am not much interested in the later cold war planes, also nice but..
The T6 Texan trainer is a regular guest at flying events though, but no bigger WW2 planes; sometimes a Zero, a Dauntless, a Mustang, largest one usually being the Ju 52/3m. Not much german planes left of course, and no bombers at all.
I helped (or better "was present" ahem) while restoring a Mercedes D.IIIa engine from WW1, fascinating. When this Corona thing is over we will be visiting some WW1 planes and flying events, but hard to plan right now.

All the best,
Kai
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:21 AM   #9
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Most interesting video and well presented by an obviously knowledgeable person.

I remember this accident being mentioned in another forum I frequent.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-22-2021, 08:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catfish View Post
^ thanks

Very bad that pilots and some passengers died in this accident, and one more historic aircraft gone.

So you saw this very plane "live"
I envy you, it sure is an iconic and technically interesting plane .
A shame that there are so few flying events in Germany lately. And I am not much interested in the later cold war planes, also nice but..
The T6 Texan trainer is a regular guest at flying events though, but no bigger WW2 planes; sometimes a Zero, a Dauntless, a Mustang, largest one usually being the Ju 52/3m. Not much german planes left of course, and no bombers at all.
I helped (or better "was present" ahem) while restoring a Mercedes D.IIIa engine from WW1, fascinating. When this Corona thing is over we will be visiting some WW1 planes and flying events, but hard to plan right now.

All the best,
Kai

The people lost were certainly irreplaceable, to be sure. That's what makes the aircraft loss even worse.


Your planned trip trip sounds awesome, Kai. I always wanted to see a Focke-Wulf 190, Messerschmitt Bf-109 and of course the Messerschmitt Me-262 along with the Supermarine Spitfire. To see all of those would be a great day, especially to see them in flight.


I know there are aircraft builders who make reproductions of these iconic aircraft.



I thought you and our other members might enjoy this video. After the video, links to other iconic reproduction aircraft come up.



~ Enjoy~



Cheers Kai.



Last edited by Commander Wallace; 01-22-2021 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 01-22-2021, 09:34 PM   #11
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I was sad to hear about this because I remembered this exact B-17 was featured in a great 1990's National Geographic article about the 8th AF; it was one of my favorite NatGeo articles when I was a kid.

You have to be extremely careful with these old fashioned planes. Several years back I remember the original P-51 Mustang that appeared in "Saving Private Ryan" also crashed - the guy at the controls was the same pilot who had filmed with Tom Hanks and the other stars in 1998; sadly he was killed.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:02 PM   #12
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Yes, and the P-51 at Reno due to an elevator trim tab failure if I remember correctly. As much as I love seeing these aircraft maintained in flying condition they just have that third dimension that complicates operation over cars.

There's a P-40 two seater nearby in Shellville that has offered rides as well as a Stearman, T6 and P-51. I've often driven by and felt the pull but I'll pass. These aircraft are often out of the hangers on fair weather weekends. Right Aktung, you've seen them frequently I would expect.

http://sonomavalleyairport.com/
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