Wings of Freedom plane involved in fatal crash

B-17 'Flying Fortress' came to Livermore Airport annually, crashed in Connecticut while on tour

Visitors climb into and walk around the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress at the Wings of Freedom Tour's stop at Moffett Airfield on May 20. The vintage World War II plane was on tour in Connecticut when it crashed on Oct. 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier

A vintage World War II plane that visited the Bay Area, including Livermore, as part of the Wings of Freedom tour was involved in a fatal crash in Connecticut last week.

The plane, a B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber, reportedly experienced an engine failure just minutes after taking off from Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn., last Wednesday. The aircraft ended up crashing into an airport building, killing seven people and injuring seven others.

The B-17 plane was owned by the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit that maintains a large collection of World War II vintage aircraft. The organization is best known for coordinating an annual Wings of Freedom tour to showcase its historic planes at airports across the country.

The Wings of Freedom tour has visited the Livermore Municipal Airport and Moffett Field each May for more than a decade. The B-17 was one of the event's main attractions, and it was promoted as one of the last bombers of its type that was still airworthy.

During visits to Livermore and other airports, the Wings of Freedom organizers offered visitors short rides on the B-17 and other vintage aircraft at the cost of $450 per person. It was reportedly during one of those paid flights that the B-17 ended up crash landing at the Connecticut airfield.

In a brief statement, the Collings Foundation said they were working with authorities investigating the crash.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were on that flight," the organization wrote. "The Collings Foundation flight team is fully cooperating with officials to determine the cause of the crash of the B-17 Flying Fortress."

The Connecticut Post identified those who died as:

Ernest “Mac” McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, pilot.

Michael Foster, 71, of Jacksonville, Fla., co-pilot.

David Broderick, 56, of West Springfield, Mass., passenger.

Robert Riddell, 59, of East Granby, Conn., passenger.

Gary Mazzone, 66, of East Windsor, Conn., passenger.

James Roberts, 48, of Ludlow, Mass., passenger.

Robert Rubner, 64, of Tolland, Conn., passenger.

-- editor Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Differentiating Grief from Clinical Depression
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,797 views

Jammed BART trains demand innovative thinking moving forward
By | 9 comments | 1,115 views