Juan A. Lozano, Josh Funk, and M. Otero, Associated Press
One of the main questions for investigators is why the plane appeared to share the same space just before impact. National transportation manager.
A World War II-era bomber and fighter plane collided and crashed to the ground in a ball of fire Saturday, leaving crumbling wreckage in a grassy area near Dulles Executive Airport about 10 miles from downtown. . Several videos posted on social media showed the fighter jet flying towards the suicide bomber.
“One of the things we’re probably trying to figure out is probably why these planes are at a common altitude in the same airspace at the same time,” National Transportation Safety Board member Michael Graham said on a conference call. .
The crash came three years after a bomber crash in Connecticut killed seven people, and amid ongoing concerns about the safety of airshows featuring older fighter jets. The company that owned the planes flying at Wings Over Dallas has had other accidents in its more than 60-year history.
The crash killed six people, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Sunday, citing the county medical examiner. He said authorities were continuing to work to identify the victims. Dallas Fire Rescue said there were no reports of injuries on the ground.
Armin Mizani, the mayor of Keeler, Texas, said Terry Parker, a retired pilot who lived in Keeler, was in a B-17 bomber. Al-Mizany said he learned of Parker’s death from his family.
Mizani said Parker’s death was hard on his town of 50,000, where many residents knew each other.
“It is definitely a great loss for our community, we are in mourning,” he said.
Parker was a veteran who flew helicopters during his military service. Al-Mizani said he then worked for American Airlines for 36 years before retiring in 2020.
His son-in-law, Andy Keeler, told The Associated Press Sunday that Maj. Curtis J. Rowe, a member of the Ohio Civil Air Wing Patrol, was the B-17’s chief of staff. Keller said Roe, of Hilliard, Ohio, gives air shows a few times a year because he fell in love with the planes of World War II.
Officials said the FAA would investigate. The FAA said the planes collided and crashed around 1:20 p.m.
Graham said there were five people on board the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and that the pilot was the only person on board the P-63 Kingcobra fighter jet. The planes are owned by the Memorial Air Force, the company that participated in the air show. Hank Coates, president of the Air Force Memorial, said the planes are flown by highly trained volunteers, often retired pilots.
John Cudahy is president of the International Council of Air Shows, a commercial group that established norms for spectacles of airmen and supervised the formation of pilots and “air chefs”, which assisted all observers in the field. It happened. Cudahy said that usually at air shows there is a rehearsal on Fridays where the pilots fly the entire show to practice, so the Saturday show is actually the second time the pilots fly the show. There are also detailed summaries each day which go over the airshow plan and cover each pilot’s whereabouts and roles in the parade.
“It’s still too early to say what happened yesterday. I’ve watched the tape so many times and I can’t figure it out, and I’ve been doing it for 25 years,” Cudahy said.
Investigators will examine the wreckage of both planes, interview the airshow crews, and obtain pilot training and aircraft maintenance records.
“We’ll look at everything we can and basically let the evidence lead us to the appropriate conclusions. At this point, we’re not going to speculate ‘as to why’,” Graham said.
An initial report from the NTSB is expected within four to six weeks, while a final report will take up to 18 months.
John Cox, a former airline captain with more than 50 years of experience, said air shows must receive special privileges from the FAA and all pilots must demonstrate proficiency in flying at low altitudes and other maneuvers used in air shows. Cox is also the founder of Safe Operating Systems, a company that helps small airlines and corporate air services around the world plan for safety.
Cox said that every airshow is supervised by an air chief.
“If there are adjustments to be made, the Chief of Aviation makes those calls and the pilots respond to them,” he said. In addition, any pilot with a mechanical problem would be reported to the Chief of Aviation, he said.
Air shows are usually based on very detailed plans, including contingencies, Cox said. For example, any pilot who got into trouble could break formation and fly to a designated area clear of other aircraft marked with a salient flag.
A cornerstone of the US Air Force during World War II, the B-17 was a massive four-engine bomber used in daytime raids against Germany. The Kingcobra, an American combat aircraft, was primarily used by Soviet forces during the war. Most of the B-17s were scrapped at the end of World War II and only a handful survive today, appearing in droves at museums and air shows, according to Boeing.
The Air Force memorial has seen accidents in its more than 60-year history, including a fatal 1995 crash near Odessa, Texas, in which a B-26 bomber killed five aircrews, NTSB reports. The plane crashed during an airshow rehearsal. The NTSB determined that the most likely cause was the failure of the pilot to maintain the minimum airspeed for the flight.
And in 2001, two separate crashes in West Texas involving the group’s planes killed three people, one in April and one in May. In June 2005, two people were killed when a single-engine plane belonging to the group crashed in Williamson, Georgia.
The Memorial Air Force, formerly known as the Confederate Air Force until members changed its name in 2001 to avoid association with the Civil War, is now headquartered in Midland, Texas, but moved to Dallas in 2014.
Wings Over Dallas bills itself as “America’s Premier World War II Air Show,” according to a website announcing the event. The exhibit was scheduled for November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and guests were expected to see more than 40 aircraft from World War II. The Saturday afternoon flight show program included the “Bomber Show” and the “Fighter Escort” which featured B-17s and P-63s.
Funk reported from Omaha, Nebraska, and Lozano reported from Houston.
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