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Fri, May 07, 2004

How Bad Was It?

EAA Teams Arrive At Van Nuys To Inspect Aluminum Overcast

EAA aircraft maintenance teams arrived in California on Thursday morning to assess the damage to the B-17 "Aluminum Overcast," as the airplane suffered a landing gear failure after safely landing at Van Nuys Airport late Wednesday afternoon.

The B-17 had arrived at Van Nuys to begin a scheduled stop on this year's national tour, which featured numerous appearances on the West Coast.

EAA's Director of Aircraft Maintenance is heading a team that planned to take their first extensive look at the airplane Thursday afternoon and begin assessing the extent of the damage. The airplane is currently parked at the Van Nuys Airport and has been secured following Wednesday's incident.

A final decision on a timetable will be made after the complete damage assessment is completed.

"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from EAA members, who in their usual spirit, have stepped forward with offers to help in many ways," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "We are truly grateful for these offers and expressions of support. As we assess the aircraft damage and what the next step will be, we will let EAA members and others know if and how they might be able to help."

Both of the B-17's landing gears collapsed as the airplane was completing its 4,000-foot landing roll. The airplane was estimated to be traveling approximately 30 miles per hour at the time and was about to turn off the runway. There were no injuries among the crew or passengers, and all persons aboard safely exited the airplane.

EAA's B-17 has been flying national tours since 1994, with thousands of people enjoying flights aboard the vintage aircraft and tens of thousands more touring the interior of the aircraft.

The current B-17 tour began in April was traveling the West Coast and was due to return to EAA Headquarters in Oshkosh (WI) in mid-July.

(ANN extends a special thanks to Matt Fowle, Regional Director of Mid-Continent Instruments West, for having the presence of mind to shoot these remarkable photos and for sharing them with our readers --ed.)



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