B-17 & P-63 Mid-Air Collision: World War II era Planes Collide at Wings Over Dallas Air Show Killing 6 Onboard

B-17 & P-63 Mid-Air Collision: World War II era Planes Collide at Wings Over Dallas Air Show Killing 6 Onboard
A screenshot from one of the videos of the incident.

World War II era Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (N7227C) and a Bell P-63F Kingcobra (N6763) crashed following a mid-air collision during a fly-by at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport, Texas, USA (RBD).

The formation of three bomber aircraft (B-17, B-24, B-25) and three fighter aircraft (2x P-51, P62) had departed RBD and was approaching runway 31 for a fly-by. At that time the P-63F Kingcobra crossed the B-17 from behind and impacted the aircraft just aft of the wings, shearing off the rear fuselage and tail section. Both aircraft broke up and crashed on airport terrain.

The occupants of both aircraft. five on the B-17 and the pilot of the P-63 died and both aircraft were destroyed.

The collision occurred around 13:20 over the Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Dallas. A video posted on Twitter by a spectator captured the World War II-era planes, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra fighter jet crashing on impact.

Dramatic visuals captured by people attending the airshow show the bigger B-17 bomber flying, not very high from the ground, in a straight line, while the smaller plane – a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, hurtling in its direction from the left. The smaller plane crashes on top of the B-17, a World War II-era plane, and immediately the two aircraft break apart into pieces, visuals show.

Local news aerial footage showed the wreckage and debris at the crash scene in a grassy airport area. Dallas Fire Rescue confirmed that people were not injured on the ground. The number of fatalities or injuries has not been confirmed, but an official said the B-17 typically seats around four to five people and the Kingcobra jet has one single pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided a statement Saturday afternoon about an initial investigation.

“At this time, it is unknown how many people were on both aircraft. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.”

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing American Airlines pilots, said that two former members were in command of the B-17.

“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,” the association said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and colleagues past and present.”

The association also said it would provide professional counseling services at its headquarters in Fort Worth, TX, over the next two days.

The Wings Over Dallas airshow, known as America’s Premier World War II Airshow, was scheduled to be a three-day event celebrating Veterans Day weekend, where guests would see more than 40 historic aircraft. Friday’s show was canceled due to inclement weather. According to the airshow’s website, Sunday’s events will not occur.

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