On Saturday, November 12, 2022, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport (RBD). These two vintage aircraft were doing a flyover to commemorate the Veterans Day event but they crashed while in the air, exploding into a ball of fire.
What Caused Both Aircraft To Crash Mid-Air At Dallas Airshow
It is still unclear what caused the two aircraft to collide mid-air but video footage is now surfacing that the Bell P-63 was banking toward the B-17, hitting its aft section of the B-17, splitting it into two. Here is a video taken by one of the bystanders. (Warning: The Video shows graphic content).
It was not immediately clear how many fatalities were made but some sources say there were at least 6 pilots total in the tow aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigations and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were deployed at the scene to investigate the crash at the airshow.
Hank Coates, the president of the Commemorative Air Force, told that:
“The families of crew members involved in the disaster – as well as witnesses – would be offered support, including emotional counseling.” He declined the exact number of crews on board but said “B-17 typically carried four to five crewmembers while the P-63 had a seat only for the pilot.”
There was no one injured on the ground as both aircraft crashed inside the inner fence of the airport boundary.
B-17 Crash In Dallas Was Not The First Time
The deadly B-17 crash was not the first time happening. Back in October 2019, a B-17 Flying Fortress crashed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, killing seven out of 13 passengers inside the aircraft. The NTSB reported that the pilot error caused the crash.
P-63 Is Notorious For Having A Horrible Visibility Out Of Cockpit
The P-63 Kingcobra design is notorious for having terrible outside visibility from the cockpit and the pilot could have very little opportunity to spot the bomber flying under from its angle. It is said that even experienced pilots on P-63 sometimes had a hard time looking outside due to the shape of the cockpit. This could have shown some explanation from the video why the vertical clearance of P-63 was getting lower toward the B-17
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Bell P-63 military aircraft had a mid-air collision at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow on Saturday afternoon. It is believed that all pilots and crew on board both aircraft are killed given the extent of the crash.
The FAA and NTSB are currently launching an investigation and the preliminary reports will be out in several days but the final report will take up to a year.
My thoughts and prayers are for the crews and the families that were involved in this horrific accident on Saturday.