A P-63 Kingcobra, left, collided with a B-17 bomber over a Dallas air show Saturday. Photo from YouTube.
Two World War II-era warplanes collided over an airshow in Dallas, sending both planes plunging to the ground in fiery crashes.
The status of those aboard was not confirmed by local officials but there were no reports of survivors. Officials said the B-17 typically flies with a crew of four or five, though that number was not confirmed. The P-63 is a single-seat fighter.
Both planes belonged to the Commemorative Air Force, a Houston-based organization that flies and maintains a large collection of World War II aircraft. The planes were executing a fly-by at the Wings Over Dallas airshow around 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Dallas Executive Airport, a small airfield on the city's south side.
Multiple videos shared online show the B-17 making an unremarkable pass over the field when the P-63 closes rapidly on the bomber from behind, flying far faster than the bomber. The smaller plane crashes directly into the bomber's body where its wings meet the fuselage. Both planes instantly disintegrate.
As the P-63 approaches, it rolls into a position in which the pilot may have lost sight with the B-17 until the moment of impact.
The “Texas Raiders” B-17 flown by the Commemorative Air Force. The organization flies and maintains World War II-era planes, performing at air shows. Wikipedia photo.
The P-63 disintegrates immediately, while the B-17 breaks in half, with the wings and cockpit clearly on fire.
The B-17, known as the Texas Raiders, was one of just a handful of B-17s known to still be flying. The bomber was the workhorse of US bomber forces in World War II, with over 12,000 built and deployed. The Commemorative Air Force released a video on the bomber a month ago.
The P-63 was never used by the US in World War II, with the Army Air Forces opting for the P-51 Mustang. Instead, the P-63 was sold to the Russian Air Force as part of the Lend-Lease Act.
The president of the Commemorative Air Force, Hank Coates, said in a news conference that he could "not release the number of people in the manifest or the names on the manifest until I’m released to do so by the NTSB.”
The NTSB and FAA will investigate the crash.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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