WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) – The B-17, built by Boeing as a bomber aircraft, was known for both its speed and its heavy defense military equipment.
Built in 1944, it was too late to be used for WWII. It performed air-sea rescues for about a decade, then in the 1960s it was used as a fire bomber.
Collings Foundation purchased it in 1986 and restored it to look like the original 909, a bomber used in Europe toward the end of WWII.
This version of the 909 had at least two previous crashed, but no one was seriously injured in either of those.
IN 1987, it was damaged after going off a runway in Pennsylvania. Then in 1955, it landed on one wheel while making an emergency landing in Nebraska.
The B-17 was in Windsor Locks for a week-long Wings of Freedom tour was the scheduled to end on Thursday. Attendees had the change to fly in the five vintage planes, including the 909.
Channel 3 caught up with Warren Packard, an Airforce veteran who was hoping to ride in one of the planes. He said it’s important to preserve any piece of history.
“People don't remember it very much anymore and having these relics around reminds us of the type of aircraft, the type of people, the kind of missions they flew,” Packard said.
Channel 3 also spoke with Debbie Reed, the executive director of the New England Air Museum. The museum isn’t affiliated with the Wings of Freedom event, but Reed said the museum has a long history with the Collings Foundation.
“Although we are not connected to the Collings Foundation on these flights, the New England Air Museum and the Collings Foundation have a decade long relationship and we are deeply saddened by today's tragedy,” Reed said.
The plane was one of the 18 registered with the Federal Aviation Administration and deemed safe for flight.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said he wants to see the NTSB’s findings. He called this a “source of alarm” and wants to know the inspection process for planes this old.
It’s not clear yet when the NTSB will conclude its investigation.