"Aluminum Overcast" Damaged in Gear Malfunction at Van
EAA's much-flown Boeing
B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast," a World War II-era aircraft
currently touring the West Coast, suffered significant damage
Wednesday when its landing gear collapsed during a landing
operation at the Van Nuys, CA, airport.
Media reports indicate that the WWII veteran aircraft had landed
without any difficulty at VNY at 1628 (Pacific time) and was
completing its 4,000-foot landing roll when both main gear systems
suffered some form of collapse -- at very low speed.
The airplane was estimated to be traveling no more than 20 miles
per hour at the time and was about to turn off the runway when it
lost the main gear.
There were no injuries among the crew or the 6 reported
passengers, and all persons aboard safely exited the airplane.
At last report
(Wednesday evening), crews were attempting to remove the aircraft
from the Van Nuys runway without causing further damage. The full
extent of the current damage is not known, but EAA sources see no
reason why the aircraft won't be repaired and returned to service
if at all possible, though "it's going to be sidelined for a
The B-17 was on a repositioning (non-revenue) flight from
Edwards AFB to VNY when the incident occurred. The flight crew
consisted of Bill Harrison of Tulsa, OK, and Al Malecha of Tucson,
AZ. Two unnamed EAA mechanics were also on board.
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.
EAA has owned the airplane since 1981 and spent more than a decade
restoring it to full flying condition.
The current B-17 tour began in April was traveling the West
Coast and was due to return to EAA Headquarters in Oshkosh, Wis.,