Texas: Vintage military plane crashes mid-air at Dallas air show



CNN

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell B-63 Kingobra collided at the Wings Over Dallas air show around 1:20 p.m. Saturday.

Officers responded to the incident at Dallas Executive Airport, Jason Evans with Dallas Fire-Rescue told CNN on Saturday.

According to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, the death toll from the crash Saturday afternoon had not yet been confirmed.

However, the Allied Pilots Association, the labor union representing American Airlines pilots, identified two pilot retirees and former union members among those killed in the crash.

Former members Terry Barker and Len Rudd were among the crew in the B-17 Flying Fortress during the Wings Over Dallas air show. APA said in a tweet. APA also provides professional counseling services at their headquarters in Fort Worth following an incident.

“Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues past and present,” their tweet said.

More than 40 fire and rescue units were on the scene after the collision, the agency’s active incidents page shows.

At a Saturday afternoon news conference, Hank Coates, president and CEO of the Air Force One, told reporters that the B-17 “typically has a crew of four to five people. That was the plane,” while the P-63 was a “one-pilot fighter.”

“I can tell you that it was generally the team,” Coates said. “I cannot release the number of people on the manifest or the names on the manifest until it is released by the NTSB.”

The Memorial Air Force identified both planes as being out of Houston.

“We do not have information on the condition of the flight crew at this time as emergency responders continue to attend to the crash,” said a statement from the group, which is working with local authorities and the FAA.

The FAA is currently leading the investigation, which will be turned over to the NTSB around 9 a.m. when an NTSB team arrives at the scene, Coates said.

On Saturday evening, the NTSB said it was launching a team to investigate the collision. The team is expected to arrive on Sunday, the NTSP said in a tweet.

“Member Michael Graham will serve as spokesperson on the scene,” the tweet added.

“The tricks they do [the aircraft] Passing is not dynamic,” Coates noted. “That’s what we call ‘bombers on parade.'”

Johnson tweeted on Saturday that no onlookers or others on the ground were injured, although the debris field from the collision included the Dallas Executive Airport field, Highway 67 and a nearby strip mall.

The event, which was scheduled to run until Sunday, has been canceled, according to the organizer’s website.

Johnson said in a tweet after the crash, “As many of you have seen by now, a terrible tragedy occurred today during an air show in our city. Many details are unknown or unconfirmed at this time.

“The videos are heartbreaking. Please say a prayer for the souls who have ascended to heaven to entertain and educate our families today,” Johnson said in a separate tweet.

The southbound and northbound lanes of the highway were closed following the incident. The Dallas Police Department said.

“It’s not about the plane. That’s not all,” Coates said during a news conference. “I can tell you that the planes are great planes, they’re safe. They’re very well maintained. The pilots are very well trained. So it’s hard for me to talk about this because I know all these people, they’re family, they’re good friends.

According to Coates, the people who fly the aircraft at CAF airshows are volunteers and undergo rigorous training. Many of them are airline pilots, retired airline pilots or retired military pilots, Coates said.

The B-17 was part of a commemorative Air Force collection, nicknamed the “Texas Raiders,” and was hanged in Conroe, Texas, near Houston. It is one of only 45 surviving complete examples of the model, only nine of which are airworthy.

The P-63 was even rarer. About 14 examples are known to survive, including four owned by aircraft in the United States. Memorial Air Force.

More than 12,000 B-17s were produced Boeing, Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed lost nearly 5,000 during the war between 1936 and 1945, and most of the rest were scrapped in the early 1960s. About 3,300 P-63s were produced by Bell Aircraft between 1943 and 1945, and were mainly used by the Soviet Air Force in World War II.

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