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Investigation underway over midair crash at Dallas air show

By JUAN A. LOZANO, JOSH FUNK and LM OTERO – Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — National transportation officers are in Dallas on Sunday to research the reason for the mid-air crash of two historic army planes throughout an air show that killed six individuals.

A World War II-era bomber and a fighter jet collided and fell to the bottom in a ball of flames Saturday, leaving crumpled particles on a garden inside Dallas Executive Airport, about 10 miles from downtown.

The crash got here three years after a bomber crashed in Connecticut that killed seven individuals and amid ongoing issues concerning the security of air reveals that includes older fighter jets. The firm that owned the planes on the Wings Over Dallas show has had extra crashes in its greater than 60-year historical past.

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The crash claimed six lives, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins stated tweeted sunday, Referring to the district physician. Authorities are persevering with to work to establish the victims, he stated. The Dallas Fire-Rescue advised the Dallas Morning News there have been no experiences of accidents at the scene.

Armin Mizani, the mayor of Keller, Texas, stated Terry Barker, a retired American Airlines pilot, was within the downed B-17 bomber. Mizani is the mayor of town the place Barker lived and stated he realized of Baker’s loss of life from his household.

Mizani stated Barker’s loss of life was troublesome for his metropolis of fifty,000, the place many residents know one another.

“It’s definitely a huge loss in our community,” he stated. “We are sad.”

Barker was an Army veteran who flew helicopters throughout his army service. He later labored for American Airlines for 36 years earlier than retiring in 2020, Mizani stated.

The National Transportation Safety Board took management of the crash website, with native police and fireplace departments offering help, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson stated. The Federal Aviation Administration may also examine, officers stated. The planes collided and crashed round 1:20 p.m., the FAA stated in a press release.

Officials did not say how many individuals have been on every airplane, however Hank Coates, president of the Commemorative Air Force, the corporate that owns the planes and that hosts the air show, stated one of many planes is usually a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber has a crew of 4 to 5 individuals. The different, a P-63 Kingcobra fighter jet, has a single pilot. The planes are flown by extremely skilled volunteers, typically retired pilots, he stated.

John Cudahy is President of the International Council of Air Shows, a commerce group that units the requirements for air reveals and oversees the coaching of pilots and flight chiefs. Cudahy stated that air reveals normally have a Friday rehearsal the place the pilots fly all over the show to observe, so the Saturday show is definitely the second time the pilots have flown the show. There are additionally detailed briefings every day to debate the plan for the air show, overlaying precisely the place every pilot can be and their function on the show.

“It’s still too early to find out what happened yesterday. I’ve watched the tape multiple times and can’t figure it out, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Cudahy stated.

Several movies posted on social media confirmed the fighter jet flying into the bomber, inflicting them to rapidly fall to the bottom and unleashing a big ball of fireside and smoke.

Air reveals are required to obtain particular exemptions from the FAA, and all pilots should display ability at low stage flight and different maneuvers used at air reveals, stated John Cox, a former airline captain with greater than 50 years of expertise. Cox can also be the founding father of Safety Operating Systems, an organization that helps smaller airways and company flight companies from all over the world with security planning.

Each air show is overseen by an “air boss” who acts as an air visitors controller for the occasion, Cox stated.

“If adjustments need to be made, it’s the Air Boss who makes those calls and the pilots comply,” he stated. In addition, any pilot with a mechanical downside would report it to the Air Boss, he stated.

Air reveals usually depend on extraordinarily detailed plans, together with contingency plans, Cox stated. For instance, any pilot who received into bother may break formation and go to a particular space that’s away from different plane and marked by some type of landmark.

A cornerstone of the US Air Force throughout World War II, the B-17 is a large four-engined bomber utilized in daylight raids in opposition to Germany. The Kingcobra, a US fighter plane, was primarily utilized by Soviet forces in the course of the battle. Most B-17s have been scrapped at the tip of World War II, and Boeing says solely a handful stay at the moment, totally on show at museums and air reveals.

The Commemorative Air Force has had earlier crashes in its greater than 60-year historical past, together with a deadly crash in 1995 close to Odessa, Texas involving a B-26 bomber that, in accordance with an NTSB report 5 crew members have been killed. The airplane crashed whereas working towards for an air show. The NTSB decided that the possible trigger was the pilot’s failure to keep up the minimal airspeed for the flight.

In 2001, three individuals died in two separate crashes in west Texas involving planes from the group — one in April and one in May. In June 2005, two individuals have been killed when one of many group’s single-engine planes crashed in Williamson, Georgia.

The Commemorative Air Force, previously known as the Confederate Air Force till members modified their title in 2001 to keep away from any reference to the Civil War, was headquartered in Midland, Texas however was relocated to Dallas in 2014.

Wings Over Dallas payments itself as “America’s first WWII airshow,” in accordance with a web site selling the occasion. The show was scheduled for November 11-13, Veterans Day weekend, and company have been scheduled to see greater than 40 World War II-era plane. The Saturday afternoon flight show schedule included the “Bomber Parade” and “Fighter Escorts” the place the B-17s and P-63s made appearances.

Funk reported from Omaha, Nebraska and Lozano reported from Houston.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed with out permission.

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