Crash of a Boeing B-17G-105-VE Flying Fortress in Aurora

Date & Time: Jun 13, 2011 at 0930 LT
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Aurora - Aurora
Crew on board:
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On June 13, 2011, about 0947 central daylight time, a Boeing B-17G "Flying Fortress" airplane, N390TH, experienced an in-flight fire and performed an emergency landing near Oswego, Illinois. One passenger sustained a minor injury. The 3 crew members and 3 other passengers were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged as a result of a fire that ensued after it was on the ground. The aircraft was registered to and operated by The Liberty Foundation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a repositioning flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Aurora Municipal Airport (ARR), Aurora, Illinois at 0938. The accident airplane departed ARR with a North American SNJ-4, N299FM, as a flight of two airplanes. About 6 minutes after takeoff, the pilot of the SNJ airplane informed the flight crew of the B-17 that they had an in-flight fire. The SNJ pilot subsequently advised the B-17 crew to execute an emergency landing to a field. The flight crew of the B-17 reported that they smelled smoke and were attempting to locate the source when they received the call from the pilot of the SNJ. They had already shut off the electrical generators in an effort to isolate the problem. Once they determined that the fire was on the left wing, they elected to shut down the number 2 engine and discharge the fire bottles. Following the advice from the SNJ pilot, the B-17 flight crew performed an emergency landing to a corn field about 8 miles southeast of ARR. The B-17 came to rest near the east end of the corn field. The crew and passengers exited the airplane as the fire persisted. Emergency crews responding to the airplane were hampered by muddy field conditions, and the fire ultimately consumed the fuselage and inboard portion of both wings.
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