The B-17 Flying Fortress known as the "Nine-O-Nine" is the aircraft that that 1st Lt. Dan Montes, Air Force Research Laboratory, jumped out of to experience "living history" during a recent skydive. The aircraft, restored to its original wartime configuration, is named by the Collings Foundation in honor of a 91st Bomb Group, 323rd Squadron plane of the same name which completed 140 missions without an abort or loss of a crewman.
Sadly on October 2nd, 2019 the crashed Nine-O-Nine killing 7 of the 13 people on board. The B-17 took off at 9:45 a.m. from the airport’s, and five minutes into the flight radioed to air traffic control about “Number four engine”. The aircraft was not gaining altitude, and circled around the airport as it attempted to return to the runway.
The historic bomber tried to land, but lost control and crashed into the airport’s de-icing facility at 9:54 a.m. Fire and rescue crews responded, and the airport was shut down until nearly 2 p.m.
The airframe was delivered in 1945, but was too late to fly in World War II. It was used for sea rescues before being parked in the Nevada desert to test how a nuclear blast would affect stationary aircraft. It was later purchased by a firefighting company that converted it to help put out blazes, and flew in that role until the mid-1980s.
The Collings Foundation purchased it in 1986 and restored it to its wartime configuration. The foundation painted it as the original “Nine-O-Nine” B-17 of the “Mighty Eighth” Air Force’s 91st Bomb Group that flew 140 missions in the war without aborting or losing a crew member, according to the foundation.
Our heart goes out to the families of all those who perished and were injured in this horrible accident.