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Dallas air show crash

Old 12th Dec 2022, 17:19
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Unless there is further audio evidence,the change of flightpaths by the `Airboss to both Bomber and fighter leaders should have been challenged,and either accepted or denied,and acknowledged by each aircraft captain.They should then have seperated at their correct heights,and stayed there with no swooping and swirling by the fighters.....
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Old 12th Dec 2022, 20:07
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Originally Posted by sycamore
Unless there is further audio evidence,the change of flightpaths by the `Airboss to both Bomber and fighter leaders should have been challenged,and either accepted or denied,and acknowledged by each aircraft captain.They should then have seperated at their correct heights,and stayed there with no swooping and swirling by the fighters.....
Is the concept of an `Airboss` an American thing? Here in the UK I was always led to believe (speaking from a position of relative ignorance) that pilots were briefed and stuck to their brief during the display.
The only intervention from the ground would be atc calls, emergencies, advisories and termination orders in the event someone performs a transgression. I would have thought the least chatter on the airwaves the better?
Perhaps someone involved in display flying can comment?
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 10:16
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Originally Posted by uxb99
Is the concept of an `Airboss` an American thing?
The title yes (as far as I know) but the concept is not..It just has another name,in other countries. ( Directeur des Vols in French for instance) and the ATC in tthe TWR is not normally involved in the display itself just protecting the display airspace from others or giving landing/take off clarances. .
90% of their work is planning/briefing , so before the actual displays, there affer, it is only top timings and or a sequence confirmation , or resolving a situatuon not planned. Very little R/T normally if any .But I have neverr participated in a mulktiple aircraft types displays/shows as the CAF is doing . .Duxford or la Ferte sometimes did , but I never participated in those. Only sequential displays ones, eaxh with a strict time slot and you were the only aircaft in the box.
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 15:09
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
The title yes (as far as I know) but the concept is not..It just has another name,in other countries. ( Directeur des Vols in French for instance) and the ATC in tthe TWR is not normally involved in the display itself just protecting the display airspace from others or giving landing/take off clarances. .
90% of their work is planning/briefing , so before the actual displays, there affer, it is only top timings and or a sequence confirmation , or resolving a situatuon not planned. Very little R/T normally if any .But I have neverr participated in a mulktiple aircraft types displays/shows as the CAF is doing . .Duxford or la Ferte sometimes did , but I never participated in those. Only sequential displays ones, eaxh with a strict time slot and you were the only aircaft in the box.
In part, you are correct. If you have a look at the UK CAA document CAP403 you will see how we do it in the UK. As the Flying Display Director (Air Boss in UK) my job is the safety of the display from all aspects. That said, if there is a multi-aircraft item displaying I might suggest a scenario and let the crews work out how to safely carry it out. I, or one of the Flying Control Committee (FCC), who are all display experts, will then look at the plan, listen to the briefing and watch the "walk through". We would highlight, at the planning stage, any concerns we might have or any suggestions. I would also ask for a "ribbon diagram" of the planned flight so that I, and the FCC, can watch to see that the display is following the briefing.

Once airborne, I would not expect to make (or ask ATC to make) any calls to them other than to Stop them if I was unhappy or Terminate them if some external issue may affect the safety of their display; there are also, effectively, advisory calls of Too Low and Too Close. Unlike, I believe, the Air Boss system, the airfield is still controlled by ATC so they are in charge of flying operations with me advising them what (I think!) is happening next.

Last edited by Flying_Scotsman; 13th Dec 2022 at 20:23.
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 18:16
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Yes and no, the speeds aren't that high (160-170 KTS ground speed at near sea level), the initial pitch change is from +2500 to -1700 ft/min in just 4 seconds. Please note, this is from climbing to descending, implying a negative (or at least a very small but still positive) G. And just a couple of seconds later the VS goes to -4000 ft/min in just 2 seconds or so.
I think I’m a bit sceptical about relying on instantaneous data from an 80 years old pitot-static system in an aircraft that may not be flying in balance. I’m certainly sceptical that whatever g forces were involved would induce “puking and disorientation”! Are you a pilot? Have you flown aerobatics? (Acrobatics for our US members)
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 22:09
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Originally Posted by Flying_Scotsman
In part, you are correct. If you have a look at the UK CAA document CAP403 you will see how we do it in the UK. As the Flying Display Director (Air Boss in UK) my job is the safety of the display from all aspects. That said, if there is a multi-aircraft item displaying I might suggest a scenario and let the crews work out how to safely carry it out. I, or one of the Flying Control Committee (FCC), who are all display experts, will then look at the plan, listen to the briefing and watch the "walk through". We would highlight, at the planning stage, any concerns we might have or any suggestions. I would also ask for a "ribbon diagram" of the planned flight so that I, and the FCC, can watch to see that the display is following the briefing.

Once airborne, I would not expect to make (or ask ATC to make) any calls to them other than to Stop them if I was unhappy or Terminate them if some external issue may affect the safety of their display; there are also, effectively, advisory calls of Too Low and Too Close. Unlike, I believe, the Air Boss system, the airfield is still controlled by ATC so they are in charge of flying operations with me advising them what (I think!) is happening next.
Seems to be similar to my limited experience in Canada. The Air Boss cleared us onto the taxiway and runway and told us when the airspace was clear.

He would not be telling us how to fly our display except for the rules at the morning briefing.

If there is a problem, such as a transient aircraft violating airspace, he will let us know.
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Old 13th Dec 2022, 22:54
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The term "Airboss" name is probably taken from the USN where he is responsible for air operations on the aircraft carrier or in the circuit

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Old 14th Dec 2022, 03:08
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I suspect that "Air Boss" in the civil airshow context, may be filled by an informed, but not necessarily licensed [for the role] person. Perhaps the chosen Air Boss is a licensed pilot, and/or air traffic controller, but I'm not aware that the role requires a dedicated license. As such, a licensed pilot, unless instructed by a licensed air traffic controller, holds the ultimate responsibility to maneuver the airplane safely, and avoid traffic. I opine that if not before, certainly now, wise people will think twice about taking on the apparent responsibility of being an Air Boss at an airshow with multiple airplanes in merging formations.

At a fly in at an uncontrolled airport decades back, for which I held an authorized role, an eager "retired air traffic controller" was enlisted to talk on the radio to air traffic. As he held no formal role, what he was broadcasting, was at best advisory, but more to the point, tying up the frequency so much that pilots could not make the broadcasts that they should have been (and were responsible to make). Seeing impending difficulty, I asked the organized to have that fellow's role (and time on the radio) dramatically reduced. Things were much better after that.

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Old 14th Dec 2022, 14:54
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In US Airshows there is an Airboss. Not so much as a Tower controller, but as a designated authority in charge of the airspace and the choreography as approved in the FAA airshow waiver.

From one of the CAF pilots flying that day:

Historically the airboss was a local member of the airshow committee or a young Captain at the Air Force Base who was tasked to run the show.

Many years ago the military figured out that an airshow is very different from a military training exercise and started requiring civilian airbosses at airshows.

Within the last 5 years the industry realized that Airbosses also needed some training and certification, and now just like aerobatic performers who are certified to different altitudes based on experience, airbosses must be certified to various show complexities and recertified annually.

In the case of a warbird demo involving multiple formations, it gets [more] complicated. The airbossdesigns, briefs and then executes the plan. Point out the traffic to follow and the pilot takes responsibility for separation.

Just like sequencing traffic, if someone gets wide, or slow the airboss has to be able to adapt safely.

Hopefully you can see that our industry is working hard to improve the safety of this business. We have some very talented people involved in this process of continuous improvement and it had made a huge difference.

None of that diminishes the fact that the airshow business is high risk. The most highly trained, regulated. And supervised organizations in our industry have all experienced accidents, the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Snowbirds. Can we do better? Yes we can. Are we working on it? Absolutely.

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Old 15th Dec 2022, 00:15
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airbosses must be certified to various show complexities and recertified annually.
That's reassuring!

the airshow business is high risk.
Yes, but does it need to be high risk to accomplish the objective of presenting airplanes in flight to the interested public?

A learned friend of mine told me decades back: "No one ever died flying a normal circuit.". Although perhaps not 100% factual, he point was clear, fly a normal circuit, with normal separation, altitudes and speeds, and it's probably pretty safe. I think the aviation industry in general, and airshows at the point of that to the public, doesn't do itself any favours by having accidents - at all, much less those which were obviously human error. If "risky" elements need to be removed from an airshow routine to make it more safe, I feel that the safe, low risk demonstration should be the aspiration of every airshow participant.
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Old 15th Dec 2022, 08:51
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Couldn't agree more!!. Having seen 9 Airshow crashes and 11 lives lost, I cringed at what I saw at Oshkosh on numerous occasions. In England, I never liked to see close formation aerobatics. I always felt that another 6 foot clearance would make little difference to the spectacle!.
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Old 15th Dec 2022, 18:32
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Originally Posted by 212man
I think I’m a bit sceptical about relying on instantaneous data from an 80 years old pitot-static system in an aircraft that may not be flying in balance. I’m certainly sceptical that whatever g forces were involved would induce “puking and disorientation”! Are you a pilot? Have you flown aerobatics? (Acrobatics for our US members)
Intriguing, that an "after-market" Mode-C device in a war-bird would deliver lower quality altitude information, than a similar one in a 30-years old C172. Flying a war-bird without a proper functioning pitot-static system doesn't look that wise to me, either. It's pretty basic stuff, nothing special. And the video shows, the calibration differs a little between the P-63 and the P-51, see my earlier posting, though not that much, that it would be worrying. I've flown C172s, obviously significantly more out of calibration, already at 1500 ft AGND.

The issue with "aerobatics" is not the amount of G-forces for the P-63 (for aerobatics a piece of cake), but the track/altitude/speed indications of the P-63, signaling, things aren't going that well: Too close to the P-51, significant positive VS, for a tame war-bird display extreme negative VS (as well the quoted "negative-G" reverting from the positive VS), as well the "direct to" the display entry marker course. All items that should not have happened, though, add up to the out-of-mental-pilot-control collision. Feel free to call this something else as "behind the aircraft".

With my added remark: "Where would the P-63 have end-up, IF the B-17 was not there ?". All indications show, the P-63 might have ended-up entering the display visitors area, at ground-level.
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Old 15th Dec 2022, 18:40
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And, regarding "blaming" the airboss: Forget about this. These things happen that fast, that there is no opportunity to monitor a bag of data from a whole bunch of aircraft, draw conclusions about WHAT is (potentially) going to happen, AND then decide to intervene, AND define a proper action, AND assume that the intervention will receive the party being intervened AND assume the intervened party will act accordingly. All in real-time. No way.
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Old 16th Dec 2022, 03:25
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I flew a few air shows as a C-141 pilot. The air shows I participated in were very similar to the Dallas show. A lot of warbirds, and Bombers, plus modern jets and the Tora-Tora-Tora group. It was called the “Wings of Eagles” Airshow in Elmira New York. As I remember, the Airboss ran the show. There was still a tower and normal ATC, but while the show was going on, the Airboss was who we spoke to. Before the show, we provided the Airboss detailed information of our planned demo, times, Altitudes, speeds, etc. during the morning brief, which was mandatory for all participating crews, the Airboss would provide the schedule of events, takeoff times, and sequences. Once Airborne, we flew to a holding point, and awaited the Airboss’s clearance to commence our demo. Once cleared by the Airboss, we flew our demo and landed. The Airboss was basically the director and choreographer of the show.
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Old 16th Dec 2022, 12:36
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My understanding is that the Airboss is responsible for preventing the accident before any aircraft take off by creating choreography and a display sequence that ensures separation and makes an accident (almost) impossible.

If the accident aircraft were performing a permitted manoeuvre and were both their permitted locations then the Airboss shares some if not most of the responsibility for the accident.

No pilot can keep full SA with respect to all the other aircraft in that busy display. Separation should have been ensured with differing altitudes and display lines and no crossover permitted.

A very sad set of events.

ATB

Originally Posted by WideScreen
And, regarding "blaming" the airboss: Forget about this. These things happen that fast, that there is no opportunity to monitor a bag of data from a whole bunch of aircraft, draw conclusions about WHAT is (potentially) going to happen, AND then decide to intervene, AND define a proper action, AND assume that the intervention will receive the party being intervened AND assume the intervened party will act accordingly. All in real-time. No way.
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Old 16th Dec 2022, 22:19
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Originally Posted by WideScreen
And, regarding "blaming" the airboss: Forget about this. These things happen that fast, that there is no opportunity to monitor a bag of data from a whole bunch of aircraft, draw conclusions about WHAT is (potentially) going to happen, AND then decide to intervene, AND define a proper action, AND assume that the intervention will receive the party being intervened AND assume the intervened party will act accordingly. All in real-time. No way.
Sorry mate but I have to disagree here. The things you describe above are exactly what happens in a busy mixed-traffic circuit at any military airfield. I spent 6 years juggling metal at Boscombe Down which often had multiple aircraft types flying and landing in all directions. Is the Airboss a controller or just a mouthpiece?

Anyone controlling aircraft is fundamentally aware that you do not make aircraft cross paths unless there is vertical, lateral or time separation.

If that airboss told the fighters, who were on the inside of the turn radius, to come closer to the crowd than the bombers, thus crossing their paths without any height separation, screwed up by initiating what followed. BUT ultimately it was VFR flight and the responsibility lies wholly with the pilots.
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Old 17th Dec 2022, 17:53
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Originally Posted by WideScreen
Intriguing, that an "after-market" Mode-C device in a war-bird would deliver lower quality altitude information, than a similar one in a 30-years old C172. Flying a war-bird without a proper functioning pitot-static system doesn't look that wise to me, either. It's pretty basic stuff, nothing special. And the video shows, the calibration differs a little between the P-63 and the P-51, see my earlier posting, though not that much, that it would be worrying. I've flown C172s, obviously significantly more out of calibration, already at 1500 ft AGND.

Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the data being discussed is ADS-B data from ADS-B Exchange. ADS-B does not rely on airspeed or altitude data generated by the aircraft, but rather reports on WAAS GPS generated data.
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Old 17th Dec 2022, 18:38
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Originally Posted by dbenj
Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the data being discussed is ADS-B data from ADS-B Exchange. ADS-B does not rely on airspeed or altitude data generated by the aircraft, but rather reports on WAAS GPS generated data.
I am not sure any of the 2 aircraft involved were equipped with ADS-B out , more likely the data you are talking about comes from F24 , and the data then coms from the transponders relayed via a few private antennas on the ground. It is not the certified ADS-B we talk about in ATC or Commerciall aviation.
As to using the vertical rates mentioined earlier , I persoally doubt the calculations and the figures posted . , FR24 is a great tool but is not exact science
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Old 17th Dec 2022, 23:48
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
I am not sure any of the 2 aircraft involved were equipped with ADS-B out , more likely the data you are talking about comes from F24 , and the data then coms from the transponders relayed via a few private antennas on the ground. It is not the certified ADS-B we talk about in ATC or Commerciall aviation.
As to using the vertical rates mentioined earlier , I persoally doubt the calculations and the figures posted . , FR24 is a great tool but is not exact science
The posts above pretty clearly say it is ADS-B data. And if the aircraft were not ADS-B equipped, flying where they were would be illegal -- under/within Class B airspace.
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Old 19th Dec 2022, 00:17
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Originally Posted by dbenj
The posts above pretty clearly say it is ADS-B data. And if the aircraft were not ADS-B equipped, flying where they were would be illegal -- under/within Class B airspace.
Can't ATC authorize a non-ADSB aircraft to operate in Class B ?

Is the airspace Class B or Class D?

Prelim report states both aircreaft were ADSB equipped.

Last edited by SATCOS WHIPPING BOY; 19th Dec 2022 at 00:26. Reason: to add second question
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