Lost another B-17 this morning

Sad day. What a shame. Glad everyone is okay.

A World War II B-17 bomber was destroyed in a fire Monday morning, after it was forced to make an emergency landing in a field just outside Oswego village limits. None of the seven passengers were seriously injured, police said.

Story here:

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Try here. It's the lead story.

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A World War II B-17 bomber was destroyed in a fire Monday morning, after it was forced to make an emergency landing in a field just outside Oswego village limits. None of the seven passengers were seriously injured, police said.

The B-17 bomber landed near Route 71 and Minkler Road around 9:48 a.m. The plane came down about a quarter mile off Route 71.

The Kendall County Coroner's Office has not been called to the scene because there are no fatalities, only one person with minor injuries.

The B-17, built in 1944, took off from Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove at 9:30 a.m. Monday and landed in a field about 5 miles from the airport just a few minutes later, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. Isham Cory said it was about three miles southeast of the airport.

Kendall County deputy Craig French said the plane was one its way to Indianapolis, after a weekend of giving flights to World War II veterans and other flight enthusiasts. Residents had the chance to see "Liberty Belle," a Boeing B-17, and a rare Curtiss P-40E "Warhawk" fighter aircraft Saturday and Sunday. The aircraft were modified to allow the public the opportunity to ride in the classic planes.

The planes were scheduled to be at the Indianapolis Regional Airport in Greenfield, Ind., for public flights on June 18 and 19.

While on the way to Indiana, someone riding in the plane saw one of the wing's engines on fire, French said. The pilot had to make an emergency landing. One person suffered a minor head injury when exiting the plane, but no one was seriously injured, French said. The fire spread to the rest of the plane after landing.

Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel said shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported a fire on board.

"He attempted to make a return to the airport, but couldn't make it so he put it down in a cornfield," Kunkel said.

Monday morning, black smoke billowed out of the plane as firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze that consumed the vintage plane. By noon, some smoke was still visible, but the fire had mostly been extinguished.

The plane was on fire and fire crews from Oswego, Sugar Grove and other departments were on the scene, but were having difficulty getting to the crash because of "extremely wet fields," Kunkel said.

Several residents reported seeing the plane flying low over Oswego neighborhoods with flames coming out of it.

Rare plane

The plane was part of the Liberty Foundation's 2011 Salute to Veterans at the Aurora Municipal Airport.

Rides were scheduled to be about 20 minutes long are available in the P-40 for $1,150 for non-Liberty Foundation members and $950 for members. B-17 flights were $430 for non-members and $390 for foundation members. It's not clear whether it was only staff on the plane at the time of the emergency landing.

According to the Liberty Foundation's website, on Sept. 9, 1944, a bomb group attacked Dusseldorf, Germany, and suffered its single largest mission loss of World War II. Six of the nine planes went down and only one made it back to home base: the Liberty Belle.

After the war, the Foundation says the plane was sold as scrap, and was then used as a test plane for turboprop engines. In the 1960s, the plane was donated to the Connecticut Aeronautical Historic Association in East Hartford, according to the Liberty Foundation. The plane was heavily damaged in 1979, when a tornado threw another plane into the fuselage.

At one time one of the most heavily produced planes in the United States, according to the Liberty Foundation, today there are fewer than 100 B-17 airframes in existence. Of those, only about 15 could still fly. The Liberty Foundation has traditionally stopped at the Aurora Airport to allow paid flights to people interested in vintage planes, as well as giving some World War II veterans free nostalgic rides.

The B-17 got the nickname "The Flying Fortress" because they had so much defensive firepower.

Chuck Derer, 64 of Downers Grove was supposed to fly on the Belle Sunday. He's an enthusiast who has been up in three times in vintage World War II planes before. Derer said the plane didn't fly Sunday because of mechanical problems.

Derer said the B-17 engines leak, but that's not unusual. The joke is that these engines leave their mark, Derer said.

Derer called the crash a tragedy for historical plane buffs, because there are so few of these vintage planes left.
It looked like "Sentimentel Journey" does anyone know what her name was and was it a "G" model? I'm guessing was a "G" since it was built in 1944. Still, I'm very torn about people flying these planes now because theirs now less than 10 air worthy B-17's in the world and only one flying B-29.
Saw this - really breaks my heart. I've been wanting to fly on one of these for a long time - now there's one less opportunity.

And, I agree that it's getting riskier to keep these things flying. But, I sure do love seeing them fly overheard....

ETA: just saw this picture - very sad.


Good decision, good landing. Gear down, no prop damage and he landed inline with the furrows. He might have gotten faster fire equipment response if he could have made it back to the field but the lives on board were more important than the plane. Attaboy. :s0155:
Wow, that was like, totally, an "E" ticket ride.
But the old girl died doing what she loved. What could be better then that for an end of her life
Why on earth even flies these anymore?? Just put them in a museum?
like the man above you just said...

these planes will rust away into dust even in a museum.. might take a lot longer, but they won't last forever no matter what we do with 'em. i say fly them for as long as there are men who will.
Why on earth even flies these anymore?? Just put them in a museum?
Have you ever felt the raw joy of a hardtail big block rumbling between your legs. A B-17 is the same, only it rumbles your soul.
You need a long hard flight in a B-17 and you will then you will understand.
I'm not doubting the excitement you would feel riding in one of them.. It's just sad to see such an important piece of history turn to dust.. Yeah, they will take longer to rot in a museum, but modern technology is improving preservation. And, I rather it last longer, so my grand-kids can see it, rather than just read about it in books or see it in videos.
Sure glad I got to ride her here in Hillsboro before her accident. I'm a WWII airplane fan. A couple of years ago for my B-day, my wife got me a ride on a B-25 Mitchell down in Az.....wanted to ride it since my dad had been a nose gunner during the war. When I came home from the trip I was heading over to Costco to have my pics developed. As I was driving, my wife spotted the B-17 land at Hillsboro airport. Immediately she said let's head over...30 mins later I was taking a ride on the Liberty Belle....totally awesome.

That was one GREAT weekend....

Sad to see history crash and burn.
Saddened by this when I saw it. This was a link to history and these machines will be our only tangible link to these historical times once the men like my father, who fought in WW2, pass on. It is one of the primary reasons I collect guns and other weapons from the past. By collecting the machines, I touch the past and remember the men and women who sacrificed for the future of those they didn't know...


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