Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What a Shame...

Fire Destroys Flying Fortress: The crew of Liberty Belle, a vintage B-17G Flying Fortress operated by the Liberty Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., declared an in-flight emergency after a fire broke out onboard the bomber aircraft shortly after takeoff from Aurora Municipal Airport, Ill. They skillfully executed a forced landing in a field near Oswego, Ill., during Monday's incident, safely offloading the seven volunteers and crew aboard the aircraft. However, after coming to a stop, the fire, which reportedly began in one of the aircraft's engines, spread and burned through the fuselage, destroying the historic aircraft. Officials are investigating the fire's cause, reported the Chicago Tribune. Built in 1944, Liberty Belle flew 64 combat missions over Europe during World War II while assigned to the 390th Bomb Group. It returned to flight in 2004, following 15 years of restoration. (See also Britain's Daily Mail report.) (Liberty Foundation website)
From the Daily Mail link:

The crash scene

In Former Happy Days

There are more photos at the Daily Mail.  It's a wonder the crew and passengers made it out, given the severity of the fire.  That's a good thing.  The loss of an irreplaceable historic airframe?  That's much more than a shame... it's a Crying Shame.


  1. Go toe-to-toe with the effin' Luftwaffe and then end up pile of burnt rubble in a field... That really sucks.

  2. Sad to hear about this.

    I took my Dad up to the little airport north of us in 2005 to see a B-17 that was touring around the country. I'm thinking it was this one, but I'm not really sure. I was surprised by how slow it was and also its smaller than expected size.

  3. When I first moved to this part of NorCal, we say a lot of B-17s that had been converted fire fighting tankers for the Forest Service. Of course they were only about 30 years old then.

    I was thinking when I saw the news about the emergency landing that it was probably fortunate for those on board that it wasn't a P-3 Orion.

  4. I always hae to see another vintage aircraft gone.

  5. Inno: Ain't THAT the truth? She deserved better.

    Dan: Those Forts ARE small inside. I've clambered around inside of 'em and always come away with a renewed mixture of awe and respect for the guys that flew in 'em over Germany. Especially my Ol' Man, who flew with the Mighty Eighth.

    Skip: P-3 guys are a different breed, entirely. I know at least one through the wonderful world o' blogging.

    Ed: Yup... it's a sad thing to see.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.