Who was Len Root? Pilot among 6 killed in Dallas airshow midair collision was a dad who 'lived for flying'

'His retirement party from American Airlines was a year ago today, and it was overwhelming how many people showed up for him,' said Len Root's daughter

Who was Len Root? Pilot among 6 killed in Dallas airshow midair collision was a dad who 'lived for flying'
The Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots union, confirmed that two of its former members, including Len Root, had died in the crash (Rebekah Lowery/Facebook and Stewart Webb/Facebook)
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DALLAS, TEXAS: Six people tragically died when two historic military planes collided, crashing to the ground on Saturday afternoon, November 12, at a Dallas air show, officials said. The crash occurred around 1.20 pm when the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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The Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots union, informed on Twitter that two of its former members, including Len Root, were killed as they were on the B-17 during the crash. The other pilot who died has been identified as Terry Barker.

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"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 tweeted.

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Who was Len Root?

Root was a Check Airman and a B-17 Flight Instructor, wrote Chris Sims, a Captain at Major US Airline, on Facebook. "Now I’m even more sad to learn that Len Root was among the pilot crew of the B-17 that crashde (sic) at Dallas Executive Airport yesterday. Len was one of the last 757 Capt’s I flew with before upgrade to the Airbus. He was a Check Airman and a B-17 Flight Instructor. We had talked several times about me getting involved with the B-17 since they needed pilots. Len was a great guy and pilot. I always enjoyed hanging around him. Aviation was in his soul," Sims wrote on Facebook. 

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In a heartbreaking tribute, Rebekah Lowery, Root's daughter, wrote on Facebook, "Our dad was the coolest. He lived for flying, for going fast. Planes, race cars, boats, motorcycles, you name it. He was the most friendly, talkative, charming guy. He never knew a stranger. His retirement party from American Airlines was a year ago today, and it was overwhelming how many people showed up for him. And that wasn’t even half. He impacted so many lives. Us girls grew up with the B17. We sold shirts and gave people tours through the plane and cheered him on during the shows. We are so proud. He loved that plane. He loved his family. He loved the Lord. He is leaving behind a huge legacy. We are not ready to say goodbye. Dad, we love you with all our hearts. We are shattered."

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"Everyone always says let us know what we can do. All we want is stories of our dad. Please share with us as many stories as you have it in your heart to write. Share this to friends this post won’t reach. Help us remember every bit of him," she added. 


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A terrifying video of the crash went viral on social media. Among the other victims of the crash included a veteran of the Civil Air Patrol’s Ohio Wing, Major Curtis J. Rowe.


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The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into into the collision of two planes. “This is the beginning of a long process,” Michael Graham, an NTSB board member, said at a press briefing in Texas, according to New York Post. “We will not jump to any conclusions and the information that I will provide today is preliminary."

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“A preliminary report of the accident is expected in four to six weeks,” Graham said. “However, a full investigation lasts 12 to 18 months before a final report is released.”

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