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Planes Crash Midair in Dallas During Air Show

military plane crashes Dallas Air Show
Planes Crash Midair in Dallas During Air Show.  Nathanial Ross via KSL 5 TV / Facebook

Two historic military planes crashed after colliding with each other during a WWII airshow at Dallas Executive Airport on Saturday.

The Dallas Air Show is a tradition in Texas. The largest event in its northern region takes place annually at the Dallas Executive Airport. Pilots of WWII planes show off their skills (and the historic aircrafts) to the delight of the many fans for whom it has become a pilgrimage. For years, it took place without any loss of life. This time was different, however, when that lucky streak ended.

Pilots dead as a result of the crash

To the horror of those watching the famous airshow, two of the WWII planes somehow collided mid-air around 1:20 p.m. Central Standard Time. While no one on the ground was injured, the Allied Pilots Association and American Airline’s Pilot Union announced that Terry Barker and Len Root, two of its former members and pilots in the planes, had died instantly.

Since the planes could seat up to six people, no one knew how many were killed at the time of the crash. The B-17 vintage fighter jets normally carry a crew of between four or five whilst in the Kingcobra, it was usually just one pilot.

Aftermath of the crash

No private citizens were on the plane, Hank Coated, the current CEO and President NBC of the Commemorative Air Force told NBC News.

There was collateral damage caused by the crash, nonetheless involving debris scattered around the Dallas Executive Airport, a shopping mall, and Highway 67.

According to CNN, around forty vehicles from fire departments arrived at the scene where the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-3 Cobra had gone down. It was  too late, nevertheless, as video recordings taken by the public showed the being heavily damaged mid-air.

CNN states that the Federal Aviation Administration, known as the FAA, had formally opened an investigation into the incident. Once the National Transportation Safety Board was on the scene, they immediately turned it over to them.

History of the air show

North American P-51 Dallas Airforce
North American P-51 Dallas Airforce. Credit: Commemorative Airforce Dallas / Public Domain

The Dallas Air Show is the creation of the Commemorative Airforce, or CAF for short. It started in 1957 with Lloyd Nolan and a tight group of retired military service pilots in Forte Grande, Texas. At that time,  they purchased a P-51 Mustang, a WWII American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber.

Later on, they collected two more WWII aircrafts, a pair of F8F Bearcats, and an American single-engine carrier-based fighter also used during the Second World War. Their hobby soon turned into a group desire to preserve history, so, in 1965, they built their first war museum.

By 1976, the now Houston-based corporation sponsored their first air show with Paul Tibbets, the pilot who had flown the infamous B-29 aircraft and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Needless to say, their re-enactment of that event infuriated the Japanese, who filed an official complaint with the U.S. Embassy, which, of course, apologized at once.


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