A Day to Remember

America will not forget this tragic day.


Larry Petterborg

An image taken of the moment of impact between the B-17 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber and Bell P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane during the annual airshow at Dallas Executive Airport in Dallas.

Ishan Pahwa, Staff Writer

   On Nov. 12, two historic World War II aircrafts met their fatal end at the Wings Over Dallas airshow in Dallas.  

   The aircrafts involved were a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress heavy bomber of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), named “Texas Raiders” as well as a Bell P-63 Kingcobra fighter plane, also of USAAF origin. The two collided in mid-air after the pilot of the Kingcobra miscalculated a turn and slammed into the fuselage of the bomber, severing the rear fuselage from the wings and nose, according to Forbes.

   “The videos are heartbreaking,” Eric Johnson, mayor of the City of Dallas said in an official statement. “Please say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today.” 

   The aircrafts were owned by the world-renowned, Dallas-based, non-profit organization known as the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The organization was created in 1961 to preserve World War II-era military aircraft, colloquially known as “warbirds.” Their inventory includes multiple types of aircraft of the era, primarily those by the United States of America and its allies as well as aircraft of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. 

   The names of the six pilots involved were revealed by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and include Curt Rowe, Terry Barker, Kevin “K5” Michaels, Dan Ragan and Leonard “Len” Root. Rowe was crew chief on the B-17 the day it crashed and Barker was a former helicopter pilot in the United States Army. 

   The CAF is also working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in order to gather training records and operating procedures.

   “We’ll look at everything we can and we’ll let the evidence basically lead us to the appropriate conclusions. At this point, we will not speculate,” Michael Graham, a member of the NTSB stated in a news conference on Nov. 13.  

   A fundraiser has been created by the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) for those who wish to donate money to the families of the victims.

   “We want to thank you all for the massive outpouring of support during this difficult time,” the CAF stated in a post to their Twitter account. The fundraiser is available at airshowfoundation.org.