Watch this video I found by accident, produced by Flywire and featuring Scott Perdue analyzing the October 2, 2019 crash of the Boeing B-17G "Nine-O-Nine" owned and operated by The Colling's Foundation. Scott previously read the full 1200 page report and gives his in depth analysis and commentary as someone who has spent a lifetime in aviation, military and civilian. The video includes photos and videos from the investigation.
On this previous post, I documented my Wings of Freedom flight aboard their Mitchell B-25J "Tondelayo" on September 22, 2019 out of Worcester Airport. It was something I always wanted to do, it was the experience of a lifetime, and worth every penny of the $400. But holy shit! If I had ANY inclination that this is how the operation ran, I would have NEVER gone up. The crash occurred a week and a half after my flight and the only reason I did not go up on the B-17 was because the only seats available were too late in the day. I assumed, as someone with little aviation experience, that given the fleet of warbirds flying on regular basis meant that their maintenance, training, certifications, and safe operation were top notch. Watching the video and listening to Scott actually made me nauseous. In the fire service, like aviation, it is not just one single thing that causes an LODD (line of duty death), but many things that go wrong and usually the result of culture issues. We use the same analogy Scott referred to of all the holes lining up in two slices of Swiss cheese. If any one of the many mistakes doesn't happen (meaning the holes in the cheese don't line up perfectly), then neither does a tragedy. In the fire service our close calls are officially called a "near miss." I wonder what maintenance short-cuts and poor training classifies my flight on the B-25 as a "near death experience?"
After my flight I had initially planned to donate both time and money to The Colling's Foundation. The crash put the kibosh on that. I even filed a public opinion in their favor with the FAA for renewal of their exemption for the historic flight operation, which was routinely up for renewal. That was before the preliminary NTSB report came out and way before the final report. I had so enjoyed my experience that it was emotions that made me file my public opinion in their favor. I now regret filing that opinion, which is now permanently filed with the FAA.