Six confirmed dead in midair Dallas warbirds crash

written by Adam Thorn | November 14, 2022

Authorities have confirmed six people were on board the two warbirds that crashed in mid-air at a Dallas air show on Saturday.

The incident, seen by thousands of onlookers, saw a WWII-era Bell P-63 Kingcobra fly straight into a B-17 Flying Fortress before both fell to the ground and exploded into flames.

It’s not yet known whether a mechanical fault on either of the two aircraft prevented the pilots from taking evasive manoeuvres.

Terry Barker, a retired American Airlines pilot, was the first to be publicly named among the deceased.

Barker was onboard the B-17 and was also an Army veteran who crewed helicopters during his military service.

Armin Mizani, the mayor of Keller, Texas, said his town was “grieving”, and his death of Barker was a “big loss in our community”.

John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, said on Sunday, “It’s still too early to figure out what happened yesterday.

“I’ve watched the tape several times, and I can’t figure it out, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years.”

The city’s major, Eric Johnson, earlier called the incident “heartbreaking’ but said no spectators on the ground were injured.

“Please, say a prayer for the souls who took to the sky to entertain and educate our families today,” he said on Twitter.

The incident took place at the Wings Over Dallas air show at Dallas Executive Airport, around 10 miles south of downtown Dallas.

The huge B-17 was the first Boeing military aircraft with a flight deck instead of an open cockpit and first saw combat in 1941 with the British RAF.

Boeing built nearly 7,000 in various models, while a further 5,700 were built by Douglas and Lockheed. Most were scrapped after the war, and only a few models survive today.

The smaller P-63 Kingcobra was developed by Bell during World War II and was primarily flown by the Soviet air forces.

The tragedy comes days after Australia saw its first mid-air collision in two years.

On Wednesday, a recreation aircraft and glider crashed into each other near the Sunshine Coast, killing the sole pilots, an 80-year-old, Christopher Turner and a 77-year-old as yet unidentified Glenwood man.

Australian Aviation reported earlier this week how one witness told 7News he was sitting on his veranda when he heard a “big bang”.

“We thought that didn’t sound like a gunshot, and we looked up and saw white bits of plane falling out of the sky.”

Before the crash, the glider and its tug aircraft took off from Gympie Aerodrome at Kybong, the home of Sunshine Coast Gliding Club.

It has been confirmed the second aircraft involved in the incident was not the tow plane.

The ATSB then subsequently said it was unable to investigate the incident because it has to prioritise its resources towards larger aircraft.

The organisation told The Australian it understood the next of kin “wanted answers” but had to allocate its resources towards cases that would generate the “greatest public safety benefit”.

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Comments (2)

  • Biggles


    I fail to see why the mid air collision near Gympie can’t be investigated by the ATSB? Are there so many “larger aircraft” investigations underway that the ATSB is short of resources?
    I would’ve thought all incidents were worthy of investigation and in the public interest?
    At what level in government is this decision made?

  • Vannus


    Yes, Biggles, totally agree.

    Maybe they a tad short for the Xmas party!

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