The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is a major collector, restorer and operator of vintage aircraft. Each year, the organization holds the Wings over Dallas airshow to show off their remarkable fleet of World War II warplanes on Veterans Day weekend.

Attendees at the show’s second day of events at Dallas Executive Airport on Saturday witnessed a horrifying tragedy. During a parade of bombers and escorting fighters, the pilot of a single-engine P-63 Kingcobra fighter misjudged a turn and slammed into the fuselage of a four-engine B-17G Flying Fortress bomber named Texas Raiders, completely severing its rear fuselage from the wings and nose.

In three horrifying seconds, the P-63 disintegrated while the B-17’s two halves plummeted to the Earth and exploded in a massive fireball.

The aircraft were flying far too low for the crew to have time, or sufficient altitude, to bail out. Besides the pilot flying the P-63, six were believed to be onboard the B-17 when it exploded, including crew from the CAF’s Gulf Coast Wing.

Debris showered across Texas Highway 67 caused a fire to breakout, necessitating closure of the highway. There were not so far any reports of casualties among spectators on the ground.

According to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Bureau have taken over the cleanup and investigation effort, with support from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire Rescue.

This article will be updated as more details come to light.

About the Aircraft

The B-17 Flying Fortress is perhaps one of the most iconic American military aircraft, active in in both the Pacific and European theaters not just as a strategic bomber but also as transports and even adapted for use as a remote-control kamikaze drone. The final (and most numerous) G model is distinguished by the gun turret mounted under the aircraft’s chin. Texas Raiders one of only five B-17Gs in flying condition, though six more are in airworthy condition according to the CAF.

Texas Raiders was one of the last B-17s built in July 1945, going on to serve the U.S. Navy from 1945-1955 experimentally fitted with a AN/APS-20 radar in her bomb bay to test early airborne-early warning radar technology in a program called Cadillac II.

After being retired, she was purchased by a private company for high altitude photographic mapping. In 1967, she was bought by the CAF, which transferred the old bomber its Gulf Coast Wing in 1974.

The P-63 Kingcobra is a heavily evolved version of the sleek but flawed P-39 Aerocobra fighter extensively exported to Russia via Lend Lease, and used by the U.S. Army Air Force early in the war.

As its non-turbocharged engine resulted in poor high altitude performance, the P-39 developed a negative reputation with the USAAF, resulting in the much improved P-63, but it attracted little interest. However, some 2,400s P-63s were accepted for combat use by the Soviet Union’s air force, which was a big fan of the Aerocobra.

Sebastien Roblin, Contributor

Source link

You May Also Like

What a rescue for SVB depositors means for the stock market and interest rates

U.S. regulators came to the rescue of Silicon Valley Bank depositors late…

S&P puts UK credit rating on notice with ‘negative outlook’

The UK’s credit rating was threatened with a downgrade late on Friday…

What Would You Choose as a Consumer: Living a Good Life or Saving for Retirement

Most people fall into one of two categories. They are either savers…

Qantas Reorgs Mgmt. Roles, Unveils New Premium Cabins

Andrew David, CEO of Qantas’ domestic and international operations, will retire from…