WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) - A preliminary report on a deadly vintage plane crash in Windsor Locks was released by transportation officials on Tuesday morning.

The B-17 bomber slammed into a deicing facility at Bradley International Airport on Oct. 2.

Seven people were killed and several others were hurt.

Read the entire report here.

Investigators said the pilot, 75-year-old Ernest McCauley, reported a problem shortly after takeoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the air traffic controller asked McCauley if he needed any assistance. He replied "no."

Then the report said the pilot reported engine trouble after requesting a return to the airport.

The controller then asked for the reason for the return to the airport, and the pilot replied that the airplane had a 'rough mag' on the No. 4 engine.

The controller confirmed that the flight needed immediate landing and advised McCauley to proceed however necessary to the runway.

The tower controller asked about the airplane's progress to the runway and the pilot replied that they were 'getting there' and on the right downwind leg.

No other communications were received from the plane.

Bradley crash map

The B-17 was in the air for about 5 min. and made it 500 feet above ground.

Witness statements and airport surveillance video confirmed that the airplane struck approach lights about 1,000 ft prior to the runway, then contacted the ground about 500 ft prior to the runway before reaching runway 6. It then veered right off the runway before colliding with vehicles and a deicing fluid tank about 1,100 ft right of the center of the runway threshold.

The majority of the cabin, cockpit and right wing were consumed by post-impact fire, the report stated.

Investigators said they were able to get a sample of the fuel used in one of the engines. No anomalies were detected.

Winds were calm and 10 miles of visibility was reported.

The NTSB said after the crash that its investigation would take days. 

See initial video it shot the day after the crash here.

TIMELINE: 7 killed during B-17 crash at Bradley

Both McCauley and his copilot, 71-year-old Michael Foster, had logged tens of thousands of hours of flight experience, the report said. While McCauley was rated to fly a B-17, Foster was not. However, Foster was rated to fly B-737, B-757, B-767, DC-10 and LR-Jet aircrafts.

McCauley and Foster were among those killed in the crash, along with passengers David Broderick, Gary Mazzone, James Roberts, Robert Riddell and Robert Rubner.

Investigators revealed that the B-17 was manufactured in 1944 and bought by the Collings Foundation in 1986.

They said the aircraft had one prior accident on its record. It overshot a runway in Pennsylvania in 1986.

In 1995, the same year passenger seats were added, its landing gear failed in Nebraska.

Its most recent yearly inspection was in January.

Passengers pay to go on the vintage planes for flight tours.

"They're an exciting aircraft. They're well maintained and they look authentic like they did in WWII," said Dr. Michael Teiger, an aviation expert.

Teiger has been flying for 37 years. He read the preliminary report and noticed another problem being the fuel.

"It's a relatively low octane fuel so now the question becomes is low octane fuel strong enough to power this aircraft with just three engine. Back in WWII they used super charged fuels. Higher octane. Much stronger and they were powerful," Teiger said.

Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the B-17 crash.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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