The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine”

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” heavy bomber was on display Sept. 14-16, 2018, at Burlington International Airport.

Seven people are dead after a World War II-era B-17 bomber crashed  at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on Wednesday, Oct. 2. There were six survivors.  

The plane was featured in the Wings of Freedom Tour of vintage World War II airplanes that visited Burlington International Airport in September 2018. 

Ten passengers and three crew members boarded the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a heavy bomber, to share a rare experience. However, shortly after takeoff, the pilot contacted air traffic control urgently requesting to return for landing due to mechanical complications. Though the control tower was able to divert other aircraft scheduled for landing, the B-17 crashed at the end of the runway. One person on the ground was injured.

The aircraft belonged to the Collings Foundation, a private non-profit education foundation in Stow, Mass., which preserves and displays historic automobiles and aircraft. The foundation was running its Wings of Freedom Tour, a memorial collection of World War II bomber and fighter planes. The tour was scheduled at Bradley International Airport through Thursday, Oct. 3.

Just a year ago, September 2018, the Burlington International Airport hosted the same event nearly a decade after its first tour in the area. The Collings Foundation brought fighter jets as well as three bombers, including the B-17. The B-17 was part of the 8th Air Force, 91st Bombardment Group. It was one of nine Flying Fortresses in flying condition in the United States. The Other Paper took flight in the B-25 Mitchell Tondelayo bomber.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight and we will be forever grateful to the heroic efforts of the first responders at Bradley,” the Collings Foundation issued an official statement on its website.

The foundation further said that it “is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress and will comment further when details become known.”

Flight operations and the Wings of Freedom Tour are suspended for the remainder of 2019 in the wake of the event.

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