Recent Developments

Speiser Krause in the News and Recent Developments

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Update Regarding Boeing B17 Crash at Bradley International Airport on October 2, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) released its preliminary findings regarding its continuing investigation into the Boeing B17 crash that occurred on October 2, 2019 at Bradley International Airport located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  This is the first of three reports that the NTSB will issue in connection with its accident investigation.  The second and third reports, known as the Factual Report and Final (or Probable Cause) Report, will likely not be issued for at least another 18 months.

The NTSB confirmed that shortly after takeoff one of the pilots contacted air traffic control advising that he wanted to return to the airport.  At the time this initial call was made, the aircraft was approximately 500 feet above ground level (“agl”).  The flight crew advised that the number 4 engine had a “rough mag” (referring to the magneto) as the reason for wanting to return.  Air traffic control cleared the B17 to land on runway 6, diverted all other traffic and advised the flight crew that wind was calm.  At this time the aircraft was 350 feet agl. 

Witness statements and airport surveillance video confirmed that as the aircraft was attempting to reach runway 6 it impacted the approach lighting system located approximately 1,000 feet prior to the runway, and then contacted the ground approximately 500 feet before runway 6.  The aircraft then veered right off runway 6 before impacting vehicles and a deicing fluid truck which was parked approximately 1,100 feet of the center from runway 6’s threshold. 

The aircraft, which was owned and operated by the Collings Foundation, was maintained under an airworthiness inspection program that incorporated an annual inspection, along with 25; 50; and 100 hour progressive inspections.  The most recent annual inspection was conducted in January 2019, and at that time engine numbers 1, 2 and 3 were newly overhauled.  At the time of that inspection, the number 4 engine, which was the engine that the flight crew was reportedly having difficulty with, had accumulated 838.2 hours since major overhaul.  The aircraft had been operated approximately 268 hours since that inspection, meaning that the number 4 engine had accumulated more than 1,100 hours since major overhaul at the time of the crash.  The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for future examination.

In addition to a preliminary wreckage examination the NTSB took fuel samples from the fueling truck that fueled the accident aircraft immediately prior to the flight.  The NTSB did not find any fuel contamination, and other aircraft that were fueled by the same fuel truck both before and after the crash operated uneventfully. 

We will continue to provide additional updates as more facts become known. 

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