WINDSOR LOCKS, CT — The board overseeing Bradley International Airport approved funding to repair de-icing equipment damaged in the deadly B-17 crash on Oct. 2.
The Connecticut Airport Authority board met Friday afternoon via conference call for only about 8 minutes. It voted unanimously to allow the airport administration to spend up to $2.5 million on replacing the de-icing equipment. All of the money is expected to be reimbursed by insurance carriers for the airport or the Collings Foundation, the owner of the B-17 that crashed.
CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon said the insurance claim process will take a bit more time to sort out, and the airport needs to start working now to get its de-icing facility totally operational during the winter.
The B-17 crashed into and severely damaged the portion of the de-icing facility that stores and processes glycol after it is used to de-ice planes during the winter, Dillon said. The damage does not impact the airport’s ability to de-ice, only its equipment to store the glycol that’s captured during the process.
“We don’t quite yet know exactly what’s going to be reimbursed to us, or what the insurance company’s preferred direction on this is going to be,” Dillon told the board Friday.
Some of the $2.5 million will be used to collect and store glycol and then transfer it off-site to be processed for safe disposal elsewhere until the new equipment to replace it at Bradley is back online, he said.
Bob Bruno, director of planning, engineering and environmental services, said it could be 4 to 5 months at the earliest until all of the storage and processing equipment is again fully functional.
The fiery crash on Oct. 2 killed 7 people and injured 7 others, including one airport employee who was working near the de-icing facility when the plane crashed as it attempted to make an emergency landing due to engine trouble shortly after takeoff. The NTSB’s preliminary report said the plane struck approach lighting 1,000 feet out from the main runway, which began its collision course with the building.
The airport has otherwise returned to normal, and officials do not expect any safety or operational changes unless they are recommended as part of the ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, Dillon said.
“Right now we’re not adjusting any operations here at the airport as a result of the accident,” Dillon said. “Naturally we’re anxious, as is the rest of the industry, to get the final NTSB report. We’ll wait to see what that report says to see if we do need to adjust anything here at the airport, but quite frankly I’m not anticipating that.”