Who was Major Curtis Rowe? Veteran pilot who 'touched lives of many' killed in Wings Over Dallas air crash

Curtis Rowe, a member of the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol from Hilliard was among six who died when two historic planes collided at an air show in Dallas, Texas

Who was Major Curtis Rowe? Veteran pilot who 'touched lives of many' killed in Wings Over Dallas air crash
Major Curtis Rowe was killed in the Wings Over Dallas air crash on November 12 (Facebook/New York Wing, Civil Air Patrol and [email protected])
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DALLAS, TEXAS: An Ohio pilot was among six crew members killed Saturday, Nov 12, when two historic aircraft collided at an air show in Dallas, Texas. Major Curtis Rowe of the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol was killed when two World War II aircraft, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and a P-63 Kingcobra fighter, collided at about 1.15 pm this afternoon during the WWII airshow Wings Over Dallas near Duncanville.

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Hank Coates, president, and CEO of Commemorative Air Force said the B-17 was hung at General Aviation Services in Conroe at Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport and nicknamed the Texas Raiders. He said the B-17 normally has a crew of four to five, while the P-63 is a single-pilot aircraft. The Allied Pilots Association - the union that represents American Airlines pilots - confirmed that two of its members - Terry Baker and Len Root - were among those killed in the accident. "Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and colleagues, past and present," the association shared in a Twitter post, adding that pastoral care is being offered at its Fort Worth headquarters. The show had drawn about 4,000 spectators. Although no injuries or casualties were reported on the ground, debris extended across airport property and onto a nearby highway and shopping center, USA Today reported.

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Graphic videos of the two planes slamming together circulated on social media, showing a large cloud of black smoke and flames as part of the aftermath. Rowe and his crewmembers were lost after performing an aerial demonstration during the event, according to Ohio Wing Commander Col Pete Bowden. 

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Who was Major Curtis Rowe?

Major Curtis Rowe had 30 years of service with the Civil Air Patrol, a federally supported nonprofit corporation serving as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. He was one of the volunteers to assist in flying the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber plane that collided with a P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane. “Curt touched the lives of thousands of his fellow Civil Air Patrol members, especially when flying cadets during hundreds of orientation flights over the course of his service,” Bowden said, according to WCPO. Rowe also held every aircrew rating during his three-decade-long service and earned his Command Pilot Rating. He served in positions ranging from Safety Officer to Operations Officer at the squadron and wing levels. He most recently worked as an Ohio Wing Maintenance Officer.

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"He will be missed, greatly," Tom Rowe, Major Rowe's cousin, according to Dayton 24/7 Now. Tom Rowe said the family is in shock right now. When he thinks about his cousin, he'll remember the little moments, like running into him by chance at Home Depot. "We’d stand and talk for a half hour, 45 minutes. Just chat, and for me, that’ll be the greatest memory I have," Tom said. Rowe said his cousin, Maj Curtis Rowe, was known for his humor. "You always counted on a good laugh when you were around him," he said.

Major Rowe also served in the Air National Guard. His family said they will always keep him close, even though he's not with them anymore. "Always keeping him right here in our heart, in our thoughts," Tom said.

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