News 2011

Me262 «WHITE 3»
After the successful completion of the flight test program and some bureaucratic and weather delays, I ferried the airplane from Paine Field,
Washington to Suffolk County Airport in Virginia. For the last two test flights we had converted it to the two-seat configuration, which
allowed our lead mechanic Mike Anderson to come along as crew chief/navigator on this 2 500 mile trip. As our FAA- operating limitations
mandated 'Day VFR only', and the max altitude of 18 000ft not exactly optimal for range, it took us four days and six refueling stops across
the continent to reach our destination, with "WHITE 3" performing flawlessly. ATC doesn't have a computer code yet for the Me262, and
controllers frequently asked me for the type of airplane. They usually couldn't wait then to pass the information on to 'their' airliners on the
same frequency , e.g. "Delta 123, you have a MESSERSCHMITT!! in your ten o'clock, five miles". One of the many funny replies: "Are we being invaded?"...

After receiving its new airworthiness certificate and operating limitations (the initial ones were valid only for flight test and repositioning),
I'll be flying "WHITE 3" from its maintenace base in Suffolk County to its final destination, a small airport south of Virginia Beach with a 5 000ft
grass runway, where it will join - as the first jet - the world's largest collection of privately owned warbirds in the "Military Aviation Museum."

The Big Swing
Während des Zweiten Weltkriegs gab es in der Schweiz 239 dokumentierte Abstürze, Notlandungen und Landungen von
Flugzeugen der Krieg führenden Mächte. Dabei handelte es sich um Maschinen der amerikanischen US Army Air Force,
der britischen Royal Air Force, der Deutschen Luftwaffe, der französischen Armée de l'Air, der italienischen Regia Aeronautica
und der Königlichen Ungarischen Luftstreitkräfte.

Viele dieser Flugzeuge (Bomber, Jäger, Aufklärer, Verbindungsflugzeuge, Ausbildungsflugzeuge und Transporter)
waren entweder während den heftigen Luftkämpfen über Europa beschädigt worden, litten unter Spritmangel oder
technischen Störungen, oder ihre Besatzungen hatten die Orientierung verloren. Einige wurden von Schweizer
Jagdflugzeugen zur Landung begleitet oder gezwungen, andere durch unsere Jäger oder Fliegerabwehrgeschütze beschädigt
oder sogar abgeschossen, nachdem sie entweder absichtlich oder aus Versehen in den schweizerischen Luftraum
eingedrungen waren, sei es in kriegerischer Absicht oder in Not. Einige wenige Maschinen wurden von Deserteuren in die
Schweiz gebracht, und schliesslich gab es jene Flugzeuge, welche – von ihrer Besatzung vorher verlassen– steuerlos
in den Schweizer Luftraum einflogen.

Jedes dieser Flugzeuge und seine Besatzung hat eine eigene Geschichte. Viele dieser Geschichten sind umfangreich
dokumentiert und wurden schon von Hobby-Historikern und Profis erzählt. Einige jedoch blieben während der letzten sechzig
Jahre stets geheimnisumwittert oder lückenhaft. Die Ereignisse um den Bomber von Arbedo gehörten zu den Letzteren.

Am Morgen des 7. Februar 1945 bestiegen sechs junge amerikanische Flieger ihr Kampfflugzeug, eine auf Korsika stationierte
B-25J Mitchell mit dem Spitznamen "The Big Swing". Der Einsatzbefehl lautete: Zerstörung eines wichtigen und stark verteidigten
Zieles in Norditalien. Dies ist nun also ihre Geschichte.


Die letzte fliegende Vulcan XH558 an der Airshow in Windermere 2011

Sikorsky S-38B, N28V, Notlandung auf dem Flugplatz Thun. Grund: Tiefer Öldruck und hoher Ölverbrauch. Engine P&W R-985. (Bild A. Lienhard)

Duxford Airshow, Absturz der Mustang P-51 «Beautiful Doll» N351BD >>cklick

CAF B-29 «FIFI» >>klick

Der Unfall von der B-17 , Liberty Belle

Statement from Liberty Foundation Chief Pilot:

June 14, 2011 - First, let me start off by sincerely thanking everyone for the outpouring of support that we are receiving. I am sorry
that I have not yet had the opportunity to return the many phone calls, text or e-mails that I am receiving offering to help. Again, thank
you for all of the kind words that we are receiving and for incredible offers to help emotionally, financially and/or with the recovery process.
I hope this statement will help fill in a few details that everyone is wondering about that led to the loss of our “Liberty Belle”.

Yesterday (June 13, 2011) morning, both our P-40 and B-17 were scheduled to fly from Aurora, Illinois to Indianapolis, Indiana. We were
in Aurora for the weekend as a part of our scheduled tour. Over the course of the previous week, we completed a scheduled 25-hou
r inspection on the B-17 which was completed by Saturday. On Saturday, the weather stayed below the required ceiling to give any
passenger flights, however the B-17 flew in the morning on a routine training proficiency flight, performing several patterns. Following
the flight, other maintenance issues arose that required us to cancel our Sunday flying schedule for repairs. The maintenance performed
has not been, in any way, associated to the chain of events that led to Monday’s fateful flight, but is being considered in the preliminary
investigation. However, due to the media’s sensational (mis)reporting, there is a large amount of misinformation that continues to lead the news.

Here is what we do know… Flying in the left seat of the B-17 was Capt. John Hess. John has been flying our Liberty Belle since 2005
and one of our most experienced B-17 pilots. He is an active Delta Air Lines Captain with over 14,000 hours of flying experience and
flies a variety of vintage WWII aircraft. In the right seat was Bud Sittic. While Bud is new to the Liberty Foundation this year, he is also
incredibly experienced with over 14,000 hours of flying time in vintage and hi-performance aircraft. He is a retired Captain with Delta Air Lines.

The news misidentified the P-40 as flying chase during the accident. I was flying our P-40, however I had departed 20 minutes prior to
the B-17’s takeoff on the short flight to Indianapolis to setup for the B-17’s arrival. The aircraft flying chase was a T-6 Texan flown b
y owner Cullen Underwood. Cullen is one of our rated B-17 Captains and an experienced aviator tagging along as a support ship.

The takeoff of both aircraft was uneventful and proceeded on-course southeast. Prior to exiting Aurora’s airport traffic area, the B-17 crew
and passengers began investigating an acrid smell and started a turn back to the airport. Almost immediately thereafter, Cullen spotted
flames coming from the left wing and reported over the radio that they were on fire.

As all pilots know, there are few emergency situations that are more critical than having an in-flight fire. While an in-flight fire is extremely
rare, it can (and sometimes does) indiscriminately affect aircraft of any age or type. In-flight fires have led to the loss of not only aircraft,
but often can result in catastrophic loss of life. It requires an immediate action on the flight crew, as the integrity of aircraft structure,
systems and critical components are in question.

Directly below the B-17 was a farmer’s field and the decision was made to land immediately. Approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds
from the radio report of the fire, the B-17 was down safely on the field. Within that 1:40 time frame, the crew shutdown and feathered
the number 2 engine, activated the engine’s fire suppression system, lowered the landing gear and performed an on-speed landing.
Bringing the B-17 to a quick stop, the crew and passengers quickly and safely exited the aircraft. Overhead in the T-6, Cullen professionally
coordinated and directed the firefighting equipment which was dispatched by Aurora Tower to the landing location.

Unlike the sensational photos that you have all seen of the completely burned B-17 on the news, you will see from photos taken by
our crew that our Liberty Belle was undamaged by the forced landing and at the time of landing, the wing fire damage was relatively
small. The crew actually unloaded bags, then had the horrible task of watching the aircraft slowly burn while waiting for the fire trucks
to arrive. There were high hopes that the fire would be extinguished quickly and the damage would be repairable. Those hopes were
diminished as the fire trucks deemed the field too soft to cross due to the area’s recent rainfall. So while standing by our burning B-17
and watching the fire trucks parked at the field’s edge, they sadly watched the wing fire spread to the aircraft’s fuel cells and of course,
you all have seen the end result. There is no doubt that had the fire equipment been able to reach our aircraft, the fire would have
been quickly extinguished and our Liberty Belle would have been repaired to continue her worthwhile mission.

Let me go on the record by thanking the flight crew for their professionalism. Their actions were nothing short of heroic and their
quick thinking, actions and experience led to a “successful” outcome to this serious in-flight emergency. John and Bud (and Cullen)
did a remarkable job under extreme circumstances and performed spectacularly. While the leading news stories have repeatedly
reported the “crash” of our B-17, fact is they made a successful forced landing and the aircraft was ultimately consumed by fire.
Airplanes are replaceable but people are not and while the aircraft’s loss is tragic, it was a successful result.

This leads me into discussing the exceptional safety record of the Boeing B-17 and to hopefully squash the naysayers who preach
we should not be flying these types of aircraft. Since we first flew the “Liberty Belle” in December of 2004, we have flown over
20,000 passengers throughout the country and if you count our historic trip to Europe in 2008, worldwide. Of the other touring
B-17s, some of which that have been touring for over 20 years, they have safely flown hundreds of thousands of people. The aircraft’s
safety record is spectacular and I am certain the overall cause of our issue, which is under investigation, will not tarnish that
safety record. In fact, as many of you know, other B-17 have suffered significant damage (although not as bad as ours!), only
to be re-built to fly again. From a passenger carrying standpoint, I can think of few aircraft that offer the same level of safety as
the 4-engine “Flying Fortress”. As mentioned earlier, in-flight fires are extremely rare and certainly could affect any powered aircraft
under certain circumstances. I would put my children today in any of the other touring B-17s to go fly. I suggest to anyone that was
thinking of doing so when a B-17 visits your area to do so without giving our loss any thought.

There is wild speculation going on as to the cause of our fire and the affect to other operators. Please let the investigation run its
course and report the findings. The NTSB and FAA were quickly on the scene and we are working closely with them to aid in the
investigation. As soon as we receive some additional information, we will release it via the website.

The ultimate question remains, where does the Liberty Foundation go from here? After the investigation and recovery, we will
determine our options. We are still committed to the restoration and flying of World War II aircraft. Again, we appreciate th
e support and people offering to help get us back flying.

Please check back for updates. I will close by thanking everyone that made our tour so successful. From the first day of the
B-17’s restoration, thank you for all of you who labored to get her flying over the initial restoration years and to everyone that
has worked on her out on tour since. Thank you to the crewmembers, tour coordinators and volunteers who gave up
weekends and countless hours to support her on the road. And finally, thank you to the passengers, donors and media patrons
that flew aboard and everyone who supported our cause. Hopefully, this will not be the end of the story, but a new beginning.

Ray Fowler
The Liberty Foundation, Chief Pilot


Phase 1 Flight Testing Complete for HFF MiG-29

Photo by Kevin Scot

February 17, 2011 — The Historic Flight Foundation (HFF) reports its 1989 MiG-29UB, the second privately owned of its type to fly,
completed the FAA-required five-hour Phase 1 flight test program on February 9. The aircraft (N29UB) is now certificated for normal
flight operations after successfully demonstrating rolls, loops, dives and climbs, afterburner takeoffs, and high-altitude flight.

Owner and co-pilot John Sessions reported no squawks and praised the Cold War-era fighter. “In terms of simple durability and ease of
maintenance, these aircraft are stellar,” he said. Although this is the second privately held MiG-29 flying (here’s the first), Sessions laid
claim to the first private U.S. MiG-29 to complete flight testing and be FAA-certificated for normal operations. Future plans are to sell
the aircraft to help support HFF’s collection of 1927-1957 aircraft. (See previous story.)

For more details on the HFF, click here.

Video from the final day of flight testing

Sie fliegt bald wieder...

The North American Twin Mustangs are expected to be returned to flying condition by their owners and go on display
at EAA AirVenture 2013. The aircraft got its name from the design, which looks like two North American P-51 Mustang
fighters attached side by side. One is powered by the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and was the first Twin Mustang to fly,
the XP-82-NA.
It is owned by Tom Reilly of Douglas, Ga., who is performing the work with friends under a company called B-25 Group, LLC.

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