WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) -- As the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the deadly B-17 crash at Bradley International Airport, the Collings Foundation is asking the FAA for a renewal of their flight program.
The Collings Foundation is asking for its Living History Flight Experiences Program to be renewed so it can continue to charge for flight tours on its vintage planes.
Last Wednesday, seven people aboard the company’s B-17 bomber lost their lives in a fiery crash at the airport.
Seven others were injured.
Following the crash, the company announced it was suspending its flight operations and the Wings of Freedom Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season.
The Collings Foundation said its mission continues to remain steadfast in making history come alive.
The Massachusetts-based company is seeking exemptions from FAA regulations for its other nine planes from rule for commercial or private planes.
Past exemptions have come with special conditions allowing Collings to fly the plane, including charging passengers.
The company’s exemption expires in March, so it applied for the renewal in August.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal repeated his call for the FAA to first review its process.
“They are vintage airplanes, older than many others, they present their own particular safety challenges,” Blumenthal said on Thursday.
The company has also seen plenty of support from the public, with enthusiasts saying the planes are safe.
"Collings Foundation reputation has always been terrific, the safety level has always been unbelievable," said Jerry O'Neill, who owns Airdales, which is a company that specializes in air show operations.
He's organized or worked with air shows around the country, and at times has worked with the Collings Foundation.
In fact, more than 760 people have already voiced their support for Collings. One of them is Christopher Soltis, curator of the Connecticut Air and Space Center in Stratford.
“If that B17 was restored and flyable tomorrow, I would get on it for a flight, no questions asked,” Soltis said.
Soltis and O'Neill have both flown in the 1944 B17 Nine O Nine that crashed.
O’Neill says he understands the calls for scrutiny after a tragedy, but also says vintage planes already go through a rigorous process to ensure their safety.
The FAA says the comment period lasts for 20 days, lasting until late October. It then has 120 days to make its decision.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.