Many here in Wyoming were shocked and saddened to hear about the B-17 crash, especially since it had just been in the state on display and taking enthusiasts on flights.

The B-17 was operated as part of the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom tour flights held around the U.S.

Two pilots on board, as well as five passengers, died in the crash. Five others on board were seriously injured.

During the initial forensic investigation, the NTSB inspector tested a fuel sample from both the B-17 and the line service truck that had added 160 gallons of 100LL before takeoff. Both smelled like avgas and neither tested positive for debris or water contamination. The NTSB’s investigation of the Boeing’s maintenance records seemed to confirm what most people believed anyway about how the Collings Foundation took care of its warbird fleet; with plenty of TLC. “The airplane was maintained under an airworthiness inspection program, which incorporated an annual inspection, and 25-hour, 50-hour, 75-hour, and 100-hour progressive inspections. Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 16, 2019. At that time, the airframe had accumulated about 11,120 total hours of operation. Engine Nos. 1, 2, and 3 had 0 hours since major overhaul at that time. Engine No. 4 had 838.2 hours since major overhaul at that time. The airplane's most recent progressive inspection, which was the 100-hour inspection, was completed on September 23, 2019. At that time, the airplane had been operated about 268 hours since the annual inspection.”

The investigation is far from over. Much more needs to be known before the NTSB reaches a final conclusion on what caused the crash.

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