A WWII-era B-17 bomber like this one crashed Wednesday at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut while trying to land.
CNN  — 

The B-17 bomber that crashed Wednesday near Hartford, Connecticut, belonged to a nonprofit group that supports educational living history events.

The vintage WWII-era aircraft was a civilian-registered aircraft with the Collings Foundation, which is based in Stow, Massachusetts. Its mission is to support events featuring aircraft and the “preservation, exhibition and interaction of historical artifacts,” its website states.

With more than two dozen historic aircraft, spanning the early 1900s to the Vietnam War, the foundation claims to operate “one of the world’s greatest collections of historic aircraft,” according to its site.

It has completed a number of restoration projects and it has several underway.


The B-17 that crashed in Connecticut appears to be the only aircraft of its kind in the Collings collection, the site shows.

The foundation’s “Wings of Freedom Tour” is one of its primary focuses. The tour “showcases two fully restored bomber aircraft: a B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress.”

In its 26th year, the tour has visited more than 3,000 US airports, the foundation states. Nearly 3.5 million visitors see its aircraft annually, it claims.