A B-17 Flying Fortress collided with a P-63 Cobra at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow Saturday afternoon, killing six experienced pilots, including a trio of former captains at American Airlines and United Airlines.
Six Dead After Dallas Air Show Crash, Including Former American And United Captains
On Saturday, the Wings Over Dallas airshow was held at the Dallas Executive Airport (RBD), formerly called Redbird Airport, about 10 miles south of downtown Dallas. The midair tragedy happened at roughly 1:20 pm when a Bell P-63 Kingcobra slammed into a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, sending both aircraft spiraling to the ground and blowing up in a massive explosion.
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Operating the B-17 were:
- Terry Barker
- Len Root
- Curtis Rowe
- Kevin Michels
- Dan Ragan
Barker and Root were retired captains at American Airlines.
The P-63 was piloted by Craig Hutain. Hutain was a former United Airlines captain.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating, promising preliminary results in 4-6 weeks and a detailed report in about 18 months. These World War II-era aircraft do not have black boxes (nor are they required to).
The air show was put on by the Commemorative Air Force, and tragic on a historical level as well since both the P-63 and B-17 are so rare in airworthy condition. While there are about a dozen operational B-17s, this was the only known airworthy P-63.
Of course, that pales in comparison to the lives lost and makes me (once again) question why air shows are the way they are. Speaking personally, I’ve always felt uneasy at air shows and circuses…I’ve taken many risks (some foolish) in life in terms of business and travel, but doing acrobatic stunts or low flyovers in any aircraft, let alone vintage aircraft, has always struck me as foolish as walking along a tightrope.
What a privilege it was to see such vintage and historical aircraft take to the air, but how tragic to see six men lose their lives during a recreational event.
The weekend crash in Dallas was a tragedy on so many levels. Most importantly, six lives were lost after a midair collision. Two historical aircraft were also lost. An investigation is now underway to determine exactly what happened.
image: @JamesYoder / Twitter