Wings over Dallas crash: 6 pilots killed in tragic mid-air collision involving WWII-era planes identified

Terry Barker, Len Root, Curtis Rowe, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, and Craig Hustain were killed in Dallas air show

Wings over Dallas crash: 6 pilots killed in tragic mid-air collision involving WWII-era planes identified
(L to R) Dan Ragan, Terry Barker, Kevin Michels, Len Root, Curtis Rowe and Craig Hustain (inset) were identified as victims of Dallas air show (B-17 Texas Raiders, Civil Air Patrol Facebook, City of Keller/Twitter)
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DALLAS, TEXAS: The six pilots who perished at an airshow for Veterans Day west of Dallas have been revealed. On Saturday, November 12, during a Veterans Day weekend airshow north of Dallas, a Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber and a P-63 Kingcobra collided in midair. 

The crew members involved have been identified as Terry Barker, Len Root, Curtis Rowe, Kevin Michels and Dan Ragan, reported Daily Mail. Both Root and Barker worked as pilots for American Airlines. Craig Hutain who was piloting a P-63 when it collided with the bomber also perished in the incident. He had previously served as a Captain for United Airlines. Fox reporter David Sentendrey provided the details in his tweet: “The @cityofkellertx confirms its former council member — Terry Barker — is one of the pilots who was killed during the crash, Saturday. Barker was a husband, father, Army veteran and more. Terry Barker was beloved by so many. According to our Dallas County Medical Examiner, there are a total of 6 fatalities from yesterday's Wings over Dallas air show incident, Chief Elected Official of Dallas County, Clay Jenkins, tweeted as he confirmed the six deaths. Authorities will continue working today on the investigation & identification of the deceased. Please pray for their families and all involved.”

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Two historic World War II-era aircraft crashed when a B-17 bomber seemed to stray into a P-63 Kingcobra's blind spot around 1.30 pm on Saturday. In a horrifying video that surfaced online, a Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber's flight path was approached by a P-63 Kingcobra. The bomber appeared to fly through the P-63's blind spot, and the two aircraft clashed, ripping the bomber's tail off and sending both of them hurtling toward the ground. A second video taken from a different viewpoint demonstrates how the B-17 entered the Kingcobra's left-banking blind spot. The B-17's front and tail got separated at the point of impact. It caught fire on the wings and spiraled, leading to a fatal crash that left no survivors. The event involving the rare World War II-era aircraft is similar to the 2019 tragedy in which a B-17 performing a "heritage flight" tour crashed into a Connecticut airfield, leaving six people dead. The Kingcobra is a single-pilot fighter aircraft, whereas the Flying Fortress is similar to a "tractor-trailer truck," large enough to carry a crew of 10 or 11. 

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When the incident occurred, the Allied Pilots Association tweeted: “We are saddened to report that former APA members CA Terry Barker and CA Len Root were among the crew members 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.”

One of just five B-17s authorized for flight, the historic Texas Raiders aircraft were flown and maintained by Root and Baker as part of the B-17 crew. Root was a married father of three grown daughters and lived in Roanoke, Texas. Whereas, Barker, also married, was from Keller, Texas. Several videos shared on social media appeared to show the fighter plane colliding with the bomber, sending them crashing to the ground and igniting a massive ball of flames and smoke. The crash is being looked into by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. Wings of Dallas is hosted by the Commemorative Air Force, a group devoted to preserving World War II-era aircraft. Due to bad weather on November 11, the first day of the three-day display was postponed to the next day. A parade of bombers like the B-17 and fighter escorts like the P-63 was on the program for the event.

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