WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- In the wake of Wednesday's deadly plane crash at Bradley International Airport concerns remain over the safety and transparency of B-17 flights.

The vintage plane crashed carrying a cabin of people who paid for a short flight; 7 people were killed and 7 were injured.

As the NTSB investigates the cause of the "nine-o-nine" B-17 crash Western Mass News covered the next vintage plane to fly in western Mass, the 'Aluminium Overcast'.

We've been following planes with this B-17 as officials with the Experimental Aircraft Association chose not to ground the 'Aluminum Overcast' for the second weekend in a row.

It will give rides to the public this coming weekend in Westfield.

Now we're getting answers on the history of the plane, which appears to be quite different from that of the doomed "nine-o-nine".

Dick Knapinski is the spokesman for the Experimental Aircraft Association.

He told Western Mass News over the phone that the B-17 known as 'Aluminum Overcast' hasn't had a crash or significant accident since they bought it in the '80s.

He said the plane which is set to give rides at an upcoming event in Westfield never saw combat, but did see a lot of use in the decades after the war.

"It was sold as a war surplus airplane back in 1946 and went through a variety of owners, did some fascinating things. Map-making, photography, and so forth" Knapinski said.

Western Mass news confirmed through the NTSB website that no accidents have been logged for the 'Aluminum Overcast' since 1982 unlike the "nine-o-nine", which had seen one major crash and a few mechanical failures over the years.

At a press conference on Monday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal claimed that information on vintage planes needs to be made readily available to the public.

"A 70-year-old plane needs special care and passengers deserve to know all the risks and all the latest inspections and maintenance that have been done," Senator Blumenthal said.

Knapinski told Western Mass News that the Aluminum Overcast's most recent 30-hour inspection was around October 6th before it left Hyannis for Westfield.

He said the last 120-hour inspection, the more comprehensive one, happened back in August.

But Senator Blumenthal said he needs more information on the guidelines by which these planes are inspected.

"These flights are potentially extremely risky like any flight maybe if there are inadequate inspection and maintenance," Senator Blumenthal explained.

Knapinski claims the upkeep on their 'Aluminum Overcast' is as strict as that of regular, modern planes.

In addition to regular inspections every 30 hours and two comprehensive inspections a year, it also undergoes an annual inspection overseen by the FAA.

"There’s a double layer on that because the people at the FAA flight standards district office take a look at that inspection and how it was done and they make sure everything was up to snuff on that," Blumenthal said.

The company that owned the "nine-o-nine" the Collings Foundation has grounded its wings of freedom tour for the rest of the year.

Their website, which was down for days after the crash has now returned to normal.

There the foundation posted a message saying they are in the process of issuing refunds for those who reserved flights.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.