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"Texas Air show crash of B 17" Topic

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Kanami T12 Nov 2022 2:48 p.m. PST
Thresher0112 Nov 2022 2:53 p.m. PST

Very sad news to hear about the loss of life, as well as such wonderful old aircraft.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2022 3:17 p.m. PST

This video from WFAA in Dallas shows two angles of the collision: link

I doubt anyone survived from either aircraft.

Such a tragedy and loss of the crews and two old warbirds. It is especially heart-wrenching for me since my dad was a crewman on an 8th Air Force B-17 during WW2.


14Bore12 Nov 2022 3:27 p.m. PST

Terrible the loss of life. Mid air collision should have been avoided at all costs

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2022 3:32 p.m. PST

Just getting ready to put this out to. Too sad for the lives lost and the irreplaceable aircraft as well. The crash reminds me of that of the suicide German fighters and B17's in WW2. 😔

Little Red12 Nov 2022 3:44 p.m. PST

Oh dear. Sad on so many levels.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2022 3:46 p.m. PST


It reminded me of that as well.


PzGeneral12 Nov 2022 3:54 p.m. PST

I wonder if something medically had happened to the P-63 pilot and he had lost consciousness?

14Bore12 Nov 2022 4:12 p.m. PST
#19 ( ( second from top) shows the Aircobra coming in from back side slicing the B-17

Warspite112 Nov 2022 5:33 p.m. PST

Just reported on the BBC…



Mr Elmo12 Nov 2022 5:35 p.m. PST

something medically had happened

My thinking is the Aircobra is a low wing aircraft and appears to be turning left inside the bomber and could not see it.

The pilot may also have been concentrating on some other reference point and did not see the bomber.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2022 5:37 p.m. PST


Warspite112 Nov 2022 5:38 p.m. PST

It is far to soon to speculate.

The King Cobra was banked in a turn to its left. Having been in a light aircraft myself only recently the pilot would have no view downwards as he banked this way. My best guess is that he misjudged the relative speeds of the two aeroplanes and turned into the B-17 as he overtook it. He would have had no warning.

EDIT: Mr Elmo and I appear to be thinking along the same lines.

bandit8612 Nov 2022 11:19 p.m. PST

Just dam sad!

Augustus13 Nov 2022 8:31 a.m. PST

I used to fly with the CAF and I knew Len Root at least in passing. From what I understand, he was one of the crew on the B17.

This is terribly sad news.

SBminisguy13 Nov 2022 9:24 a.m. PST

Awful. The P-63 pilot screwed up and people died -- he was going to fast, overshot his turn and caused the fatal accident. This will lead to new air show safety rules that mean no more mass fly-bys.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2022 10:55 a.m. PST

Is this your speculation, or has an official released information from the investigation?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2022 10:58 a.m. PST

Without knowing the facts, one could also speculate that the B 17 was occupying airspace that it wasn't supposed to be in.

I am willing to wait for the investigators to do their investigation.

Andrew Walters13 Nov 2022 11:01 a.m. PST

This is very sad news. I hope it doesn't throw cold water on the other people still flying old aircraft.

mkenny13 Nov 2022 2:58 p.m. PST

The still photo taken from the front shows everything behind the B17 cockpit windscreen was sliced off

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2022 3:25 p.m. PST

So sad for the loss of lives. I have flown in a B-17, magnificent airplane. The Yankee Air Museum has a flying B-17 & I know the pilots are very competent men & women. I belong to the museum and am waiting to see what they do. Our flying season ends in mid October (Michigan can get clod quick) so I'm sure they will be looking to see what happened.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Nov 2022 5:08 p.m. PST

Very sad indeed. I saw some drone footage of the aftermath and nearly everything was smashed to bits with only a few recognizable pieces of the aircraft – except for the left wing. Most of the left wing, with the white star in a blue circle insignia, was just lying on the grass, nearly untouched. It was very eerie and poignant.

Michael May14 Nov 2022 7:41 a.m. PST

God bless the families of those who died.

Blutarski14 Nov 2022 7:57 a.m. PST

+1 ….. Michael May.

Especially so close to the Holidays.


Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2022 12:31 p.m. PST

I'm going to be honest and brutal here. Being a supporter of the CAF and other WW2 flying groups, I've noticed an increase in these accidents with the old warbirds.
Let's be open. Almost ALL of these planes are waaaaaay beyond their operational life expectancy. Many of them simply should not be flying, and be static display, or if they are flying, should be doing flybys and not "airshow in flight WW2 combat style events".
And while I am saddened at the loss of the aircraft, (The B-17 is probably my favorite WW2 plane), I am sadder about the loss of life, due to an avoidable accident.
There needs to be some serious reevaluation on how these planes are used. It's lucky that none of the wreckage came down in the crowd.

Blutarski15 Nov 2022 2:46 p.m. PST

Absolutely Fair Comment, Murphy.

I can recall the Collings Foundation flying all over the eastern US on a regular basis. Please correct me if I am wrong, but was their B17 (IIRC) not lost due a the failure of a rebuilt engine accessory (oil pump, alternator, cannot recall)?

I know of several ventures to manufacture new WW2-era warbirds to the original specs (a company in German building FW190s; a company in Texas building Me262s). From what I understand, however, an obstacle to taking a similar path with certain US warbirds is that the expertise and capability to manufacture precision-cast finned cylinder heads for the big Pratt & Whitney radials has been lost to time and the passing of the factory specialists who practiced the trade.

I'm of an age such that, in my childhood, the sights and sounds of big prop-driven airliners (DC3s, Constellations, etc) over my house was commonplace.




Thresher0115 Nov 2022 3:47 p.m. PST

I share your concerns, but it seems both were in perfect flying condition, and they spend tons of cash and sweat to get them flight ready, so I really don't see that as an issue in this case.

Clearly, at least one pilot screwed up, perhaps both, causing the accident.

A terrible shame for everyone involved and affected by this tragic accident.

Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2022 7:33 p.m. PST

From watching the vids up to collision…the Cobra's airspeed way Way faster that B17… NOT in 'formation' flying.
In long banking turn, Cobra would have lost visual of B17… but must have been aware… miscalculation. It happens. Too fast airspeed for situation. Why… don't know.
A fighter 'should' not collide with a Bomber.

Sometimes someone just makes a mistake… re. Hunter crash in UK. It happens. Then someone destroys displays.

Blutarski16 Nov 2022 2:24 p.m. PST

Fair comment, Thresher.


Wolfhag18 Nov 2022 3:36 a.m. PST

When I lived in Miami in the early 1960's they had a B-17 configured to spray for mosquitoes. It would fly a few hundred off the ground right over your house. Pretty cool for an 8-year-old! My first flight was on a Connie.

The Collings Foundation holds a Bomber Camp in Stockton, CA.
Check it out: link


During the camp, you can be in the door gunner position and fire .50cal blanks at the P-51 as it makes a simulated gun run on your bomber.

Regarding their B-17 crash:
Investigation NTSB investigators at the crash site on October 3

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) opened an investigation into the accident. A "go team" was dispatched to Bradley International Airport, headed by Jennifer Homendy. The NTSB removed some wreckage to their laboratory for further analysis, completing operations at the scene by October 8.

The NTSB issued its preliminary report on October 15, 2019. Fuel recovered from the tanks for the No. 3 engine appeared free from water and debris contamination and was consistent with 100LL avgas in smell and appearance. The fuel truck that had refueled the aircraft with 160 US gallons (130†imp†gal; 610†l) of 100LL before the flight was quarantined. Still, the NTSB found no anomalies in its fuel supply or equipment, and no engine trouble was reported by pilots of other aircraft refueled from the same truck before or after the accident aircraft. During the flight, the accident pilot had reported that the No. 4 engine had a "rough mag" referring to a magneto on that engine. The NTSB reported that the propeller blades of the No. 3 engine were near the feathered position, and the propeller blades of the No. 4 engine were in the feathered position. The aircraft had landed with the flaps in the retracted position, and the landing gear extended.

In March 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration revoked the Collings Foundation's permission to carry passengers, citing numerous safety concerns and noting that allowing passengers "would adversely affect safety." Investigators found substantial shortcomings in the foundation's safety practices: key personnel were ignorant of the organization's maintenance program and "basic information concerning operations." The left magneto for the No. 4 engine had been "jury [rigged]" with safety wire and was inoperative, while the right magneto produced a weak or no spark in four of the nine cylinders it was supposed to fire. All spark plugs on both the No. 3 and No. 4 engines had been gapped improperly. They needed cleaning, and evidence of detonation was found. The inspection of engine No. 3 also revealed problems with the cylinders.

An updated NTSB docket summary containing investigation details, testimonies, media, and medical reports was released on December 9, 2020. The final NTSB report was released on April 13, 2021, and cited pilot error as the likely causeónoting in particular, "The B-17 could likely have overflown the approach lights and landed on the runway had the pilot kept the landing gear retracted and accelerated to 120 mph until it was evident the airplane would reach the runway." with inadequate maintenance as a contributing factor.

I have a good friend that has 400 hours as a pilot in a B-17 and thousands in the military and small planes. He said flying a B-17 is like driving a dump truck with four flat tires.


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