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Mon, Apr 24, 2023

Near-Term B-17 Wing Spar AD Possible

Aluminum Overcast and Yankee Lady Sidelined

EAA members remain about the business of repairing and restoring the association’s B-17 and are working closely with the FAA as the agency considers the best practical and regulatory paths by which to safely get the historic aircraft back into the air.

The B-17, dubbed Aluminum Overcast, has been sidelined since damage to one of its wing fittings was observed during a routine preflight check in spring 2021. The finding compelled other B-17 operators—such few as remain—to ground their respective aircraft for purpose of performing wing spar inspections and addressing any problems therewith.

If discovered in sufficient numbers, Flying Fortress wing spar anomalies could prompt the FAA to issue a B-17 Airworthiness Directive (AD) in the near future.

EAA vice president of advocacy and safety Sean Elliott stated: “Even the most robust airframes, such as the B-17 with its legendary durability, need proper care to ensure their safe operation for years to come. We all want to keep ‘em flying and keep ‘em flying safely. We at EAA have had excellent cooperation from the FAA as we jointly review the situation and find the best path forward.”

Over the weekend of 15-16 April 2023, Michigan’s Yankee Air Museum announced its B-17, Yankee Lady, would be grounded “out of an abundance of caution” and will likely not fly in 2023. Ergo, the storied aircraft, with regret, will be unable to keep its previous commitment to appear at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. Parties who’ve booked flights aboard Yankee Lady during AirVenture will be contacted directly by the Yankee Air Museum regarding refunds.

Mr. Elliott added: “The warbirds community is resilient and united on finding a path forward for these magnificent airplanes. We look forward to getting them back in the air in the future, with safety always the number one priority.”



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