LONDON – Two warbird aircraft – a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra – have collided fatally in mid-air whilst performing at the “Wings Over Dallas” Air Show on Saturday.
CAUTION: Graphic video footage and language warning in this report.
The two aircraft were participating in a Veteran’s Day weekend air show, which was being held at Dallas Executive Airport, Texas.
Both aircraft wee owned by the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit group which was hosting the air show event.
The accident, which was captured by several people on-site and at a nearby strip mall, captured the moment the single engine P-63 Kingcobra arced in a steep banking turn which took it directly into the B-17 Fortress which appeared to be in the Kingcobra pilot’s blindspot.
The impact on the four-engine bomber incised the mid-section fuselage was just behind the wing root, causing the aft section and tail assembly to shear off completely.
The accident was fatal, and it has been informally reported that as many as six occupants were involved, however the number of fatalities has not yet been formally confirmed. There were no reported injuries or fatalities from those on the ground.
Issuing a brief statement via social media, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken up an investigation of the accident.
The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) will lead the investigation.
The debris field from the accident covered the Executive Airport grounds, Highway 67, and the strip mall. The Airport is approximately 10 miles to the south of the downtown Dallas area.
PHOTO: The Commemorative Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress PHOTO CREDIT: Balon Greyjoy via Wikimedia Commons
The FAA reports that the accident occurred at approximately 1:20pm local time.
In a press conference held a few hours after the fatal collision, Commemorative Air Force CEO and President Hank Coates would not speculate on the cause of the crash at this stage.
He spoke of the safety of the operation and the airworthiness of the warbird aircraft, saying the pilots were volunteers and highly trained.
“There is a very strict process of training and hours. All of the pilots have been vetted very carefully. Many of them have been flying with us for 20, 30 years or longer. What I can tell you is this is not their first rodeo. Many of them are very well-versed,” Coates said.
The incident is a devastating blow to a very close-knit community of aviation lovers, and to the wider local community.