Dallas Airshow Collision


Photo by AP Newsroom/ LM Otero. A picture of one of the planes that crashed during the Dallas Airshow on Nov. 12th, 2022.

Jimmy Brand, Staff Writer

    Six casualties have been reported as a result of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 King Cobra colliding in an airshow taking place in Dallas Texas. Both aircrafts involved in the crash were World War II-era military planes, housing professional pilots Terry Barker and Len Root identified by the Allied Pilots Association, a labor union representing American Airlines Pilots. In a video taken of the accident, the two planes can be seen breaking apart midair after the collision, then hitting the ground immediately after catching fire. The B-17 had been part of a collection of the Commemorative Air Force, also known as the “Texas Raiders”. The P-63 was much rarer than the B-17, with only about 14 of them known to have survived. 

    Almost immediately after the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) launched their investigation on Saturday, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) team took over and dispatched a team consisting of technical experts who regularly investigate these kinds of scenarios. Unfortunately for the NTSB, neither plane was equipped with an audio recording system or “black box” but the investigative team was able to recover the electronic flight display from the B-17 and a GPS unit from the P-63. These types of units would be able to provide things like the speed the aircrafts were traveling at, GPS locations, and possible altitudes of the planes. NTSB member Michael Graham has also received the air show common frequency recording, the verbal radio transmissions between pilots. Graham has also requested any photos or videos taken of or during the collision that may provide help be sent to the NTSB.  

   “They’ll be very critical to analyze the collision and also tie that in with the aircraft control recordings to determine why the two aircrafts collided and to determine, basically, the how and why this accident happened and then eventually, hopefully, maybe make some safety recommendations to prevent it from happening in the future,” says Graham. Hank Coates, president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force has been very clear in outlining that the accident was not because of how old the aircrafts were. He states, “I can tell you the aircrafts and great aircrafts. 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.” The event was scheduled to run again on Sunday but has been cancelled. 



Additional reading:

Dallas Midair Tragedy: New Videos Show Startling Change in Flight Path of P-63 – Plane & Pilot Magazine (planeandpilotmag.com)

Dallas airshow collision: Six fatalities confirmed after Dallas crash : NPR