NO SURVIVORS: Who are the victims of the vintage plane collision at the Dallas air show?
DALLAS, TEXAS: At least six crew members are thought to have died after two planes collided mid-air during an air show at the Dallas Executive Airport on Saturday, November 12.
The tragedy befell around 1.15 pm Saturday afternoon during the Veteran's Day Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow near Duncanville. One of the aircraft was a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress while the other a Bell P-63 Kingcobra. Hank Coates, President and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, said the B-17 plane was hangared at General Aviation Services in Conroe at Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport and was nicknamed the Texas Raiders. He said the B-17 usually has a crew of four to five people and the P-63 is a single-pilot aircraft.
WARNING: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED
"This is a World War II flight demonstration type airshow where we highlight the aircraft and their capabilities," Coates said during a press conference Saturday. "The maneuvers that they were doing there were not dynamic at all. It was what we call ‘Bombers on parade.'" He said he couldn't release the exact number of people on the B-17 plane and the names of those involved until all next of kin are informed and he receives consensus from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other agencies investigating the incident. Nonetheless, the Allied Pilots Association -- the labor union representing American Airlines pilots -- confirmed that two of their members - Terry Baker and Len Root - were among those who died in the accident.
We are saddened to report that former APA members CA Terry Barker and CA Len Root were among the crewmembers lost on B-17 Flying Fortress during the Wings Over Dallas airshow today. Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and colleagues past and present.— Allied Pilots (@AlliedPilots) November 13, 2022
Coates said the families of those involved were being taken care of and receiving counseling. "The people that are flying in the airshows are volunteers," he explained. "There is a very strict process of training and hours. All the pilots are vetted very carefully. Many of them have been flying for us for 20, 30 years, or longer. What I can tell you, this is not their first rodeo. These guys are very well-versed." The collision is being probed by the Federal Aviation Administration and Dallas-based agencies. As mentioned, the NTSB is also set to perform a thorough investigation into what caused the accident.
“This is not about the aircraft. It’s just not,” Coates clarified to reporters. “I can tell you the aircraft are great aircraft, they’re safe. They’re very well-maintained. The pilots are very well-trained. So it’s difficult for me to talk about it, because I know all these people, these are family, and they’re good friends.” He said the individuals flying the aircraft in CAF airshows are volunteers and have a strict process of training, adding that many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots, or retired military pilots.
The investigation, currently led by the FAA, was set to be turned over to the NTSB at about 9 pm when its team was scheduled to arrive at the scene. The NTSB tweeted Saturday evening that a go-team had been put together to perform the probe and that it was expected to arrive on Sunday, November 13. “Member Michael Graham will serve as spokesperson on scene,” the tweet added.
The NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s mid-air collision between a Boeing B-17G and a Bell P-63F near Dallas, Texas. Member Michael Graham will serve as spokesperson on scene. Team expected to arrive tomorrow. Check Twitter @ntsb_newsroom for updates.— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) November 13, 2022
The air show, which was originally scheduled to run through Sunday, has since been canceled, per the organizer's website.