On October 3, 2019, a chartered B-17G bomber carrying 13 people crashed after mechanical trouble during liftoff from Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. The passengers had each paid $450 for the trip. Five passengers, along with the pilot and copilot, were killed while the others suffered serious burns.
The B-17G “flying fortress” is a four-engine, propeller-driven plane. On this trip, it struggled to get into the air. The pilots circled back to land, according to officials and witnesses, but instead struck a maintenance building.
Now, the crash’s survivors and the families of the dead passengers have filed a lawsuit seeking money damages from the Collings Foundation, which ran the charter flight.
Was the flight crew cavalier about the potential danger?
The plaintiffs make several claims in their 200-page lawsuit. First, they say that the flight itself was not run in a safe manner. The passengers were not given appropriate safety instructions at the beginning of the flight, and two passengers were apparently seated on the floor instead of in seats.
Second, the plaintiffs say that there was a good reason the plane encountered mechanical trouble. If the failed engine had been inspected, they contend, it would have shown that some parts were too worn to be relied upon.
And finally, among other claims, they say that the flight crew failed to respond appropriately to the crash. They did not inform the passengers about what was going on, gave them no instructions to brace for a crash, and indeed failed to communicate their peril altogether.
According to the Associated Press, in March the FAA revoked the foundation’s license to carry passengers aboard its historic World War II era aircraft.
A spokesperson for the foundation said that it was prohibited from commenting on the lawsuit or the crash because the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation is ongoing.
In any flight, it doesn’t take a lot going wrong to cause a dangerous condition. If the plaintiffs are right, this flight involved a lack of inspection, poor communication, and perhaps an attitude that the flight was so routine nothing could go wrong. Every flight crew needs to treat every flight as if there could be an emergency.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a plane crash, you may have legal options. Discuss your situation with an experienced aviation attorney.