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Oversight lapses by FAA, Collings Foundation may have contributed to B-17 crash, NTSB says

The plane carrying 13 people crashed and burned after experiencing mechanical trouble on takeoff on October 2, 2019 from Bradley International Airport.

DC, USA — The video in this story aired 12/9/20

The operator of the B-17 that crashed killing 7 people and the FAA came under fire for poor safety management and lax oversight that contributed to the crash of the World War II bomber in October 1019. 

The National Transportation Safety Board called for enhanced safety standards Tuesday regarding some similar aircraft. 

The crash of the B-17 was of the crashes that was cited during a public board meeting with the FAA. 

The plane was carrying 13 people crashed and burned after experiencing mechanical trouble on takeoff on October 2, 2019.

Though the NTSB has not released any official findings through their website, they did say," the operator’s ineffective safety management system and the FAA’s inadequate oversight of it, contributed to the probable cause of the accident that killed seven and seriously injured five others."

“The NTSB remains concerned with the inadequate safety standards the FAA allows for some revenue passenger-carrying general aviation operations,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “When someone pays for an air tour, a parachute jump flight, or an extreme aerobatic experience flight, they have the right to expect effective safety standards for such operations. Currently, that is not the case, and this exposes customers to unnecessary risks.”

The FAA has made certain allowances for certain passenger-carrying operations to be governed by something general aviation regulations or Part 91. This allowed less strict requirements. 

The retired, civilian-registered plane was associated with the Collings Foundation, an educational group that brought its Wings of Freedom vintage aircraft display to the airport this week, officials said.

Pilot Ernest McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, California, had flown for over 20 years with the educational group that owned the World War II-era plane and was also its safety officer, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Five passengers were killed along with McCauley and the co-pilot, Michael Foster, 71, of Jacksonville, Florida, according to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Passengers Gary Mazzone, 60, of East Windsor, Robert Riddell, 59, of East Granby, James Roberts, 48, of Ludlow, Massachusetts; David Broderick, 56, of West Springfield, Massachusetts; and Robert Rubner, 64, of Tolland, Connecticut.

Six recommendations were made to the FAA like developing national safety standards or equivalent regulations for specific revenue passenger-carrying operations. 

The NTSB also cited a helicopter flight that crashed into the East River in 2018. The crash killed two people. 


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