Ludlow man who died in B-17 crash at Bradley wasn’t supposed to be on flight

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Seven people were killed when a vintage World War II bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport Wednesday morning. Two of them were from western Massachusetts.

Jim Roberts wasn’t supposed to take that flight, he was scheduled for B-17 bomber’s the 4 p.m. flight. But because of his love of vintage planes, he switched flights. 

“He was just a caring guy,” said Joe Roberts, Jim’s brother told 22News. “You know low-key, he worked hard, led a simple life and just did what he could care about people and he was a good guy. We’re going to miss him terribly.” 

Joe lost his youngest brother, Jim, when the World War II B-17 bomber went down at Bradley International Airport. For the Roberts family, Wednesday was something from a nightmare. 

“My brother Greg was at work and he messaged me a picture of the plane crash and I said my god that’s horrible and then my other brother Mike wrote back and said this isn’t good because Jim was supposed to be on that flight and right away, I had a really bad feeling,” Joe said. 

Jim grew up in Wilbraham and graduated from Minnechuag High School in 1988. Among Jim’s many interests: drawing comics, he had plans to launch his own comic book series. His other passion was vintage military aircraft, just like most of the people aboard that B-17 on that fateful day. 

“I know all the people on there were the same way they were just history buffs and just wanted the opportunity to ride on a plane that was probably 70-years-old and had seen real action,” said Joe. 

Joe said that they’ve received an overwhelming amount of support and it just goes to show what kind of a man Jim was. 

“There’s been just a huge amount of outpouring from Facebook and emails and texts and stuff and I don’t think my brother Jim realized how many people he really affected,” said Jim. 

Jim leaves behind three brothers and a sister. He was 40-years-old. The Roberts family is hoping to hold a combined funeral and wake next weekend. 

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