Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Dallas air show crash

Old 13th Nov 2022, 08:03
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I've been in this with 63 other airplanes. There are groups of trainers, fighters, bombers and cargos that work together. But... we're only human and there will always be one pilot out of synch or just "not get it".
Obviously very hard to know exactly what separation provisions had been planned, either at the briefing or directly from the Air Boss at the time - with your experience at that same venue, Bobby G, what would they have been trying to achieve, do you think? From the video it looked like three fighters at higher speed passing closer to the crowd, and the B17 and another larger machine spaced further out, moving slower?

The P63 comes in fast, looks like he's got his attention on the fighters ahead but has inadvertently set up a greater turn radius than them, which sadly puts him in the same place in the sky as the B17. As Two's In says, he's belly up and unlikely to have been able to see the B17 in the seconds leading up to the midair. Would there have been a requirement (briefing or direct via radio) for the fighters to have sighted the bombers and avoid them laterally, i.e. pass clear, closer to the crowd? (which would make a lot of sense with the differing speeds)

RIP fellow aviators.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 08:38
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Originally Posted by Arm out the window View Post
From the video it looked like three fighters at higher speed passing closer to the crowd, and the B17 and another larger machine spaced further out, moving slower?
B-17, B-24 and a B-25 were closer to the crowd line, more or less over the runway, the P-51s looked to be south of the runway. They were all performing tear drop style reversals, tho the P-63 doesn't show up on ADSB. Speeds seem to have been around 150-200kts,

As UXB99 says, the Stearman rolling out on the runway was probably a few seconds clear of being amongst some of the debris. The B-29 can be seen awaiting clearance onto the runway too.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 09:10
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Originally Posted by fdr View Post
The P-63 is following pilot input immediately before the impact, I doubt that there was a control issue prior to impact.
  • GLOC is unlikely but not impossible.
  • A medical event is always possible but that would tend to result in lowering g loads, and that would cause the flight path to degrade in a high bank turn, there is no onset of a descent part way through the turn. Keeping a high bank and reducing g reduces the rate of turn and that is not obviously evident, so the plane is likely to be under closed loop pilotage up to impact.
  • assuming that this was accidental, then the P-63 seems to be working towards a rejoin of the P-51 and other preceding little friends, and that puts the line of sight for the pilot of the P-63 above his head, and to the left, well away from Texas Raider's. I would think that target fixation on the rejoin of relatively hard to see aircraft against the ground background may have distracted the P-63 pilot from his basic requirement to keep clear of what should be obvious traffic that he/she is overtaking.
This hints to a bad set up of flight paths, whether preflight or inflight variation from plan. Would be interesting to know the pilots experience in flying mixed formations and in formation flying, rejoins etc.

A brutally bad day. It is part of the heritage to keep the memory alive of what prior generations did, these airshows are worthy of respect and continuation. Lets not do this particular evolution again.


2's In, you are correct. I assumed the P63 was faster than the B-17, there is not much difference in speed, and post #37 shows that the P63 was belly up to the B17 for at least the last 5-6 seconds. To see the traffic, the speed difference would need to be higher.
My comment is now somewhat out of context after merging with this thread (i.e. replying to the previous post). I don't think there was a problem with the aircraft, so, calls to ground old types due to this accident seem somewhat baseless.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 09:12
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First and foremost a tragedy for the families of those who lost their lives.

Two more historic aircraft to be added to the long, long list of lost aeroplanes in avoidable accidents. No doubt the airshow brigade will be saying that life is a risk and it’s all worthwhile in the name of entertainment.

Very sad
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 09:43
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Originally Posted by beamer View Post
First and foremost a tragedy for the families of those who lost their lives.

Two more historic aircraft to be added to the long, long list of lost aeroplanes in avoidable accidents. No doubt the airshow brigade will be saying that life is a risk and it’s all worthwhile in the name of entertainment.

Very sad
It's a catch 22. The desire to fly these aircraft has helped to preserve them. Most would have gone to the scrap man long ago if that desire was not there.
If you fly them, you risk crashing them.
I feel sad for the operators and crews who didn't want to see aircraft lost in this way and the families for loosing loved ones.
A very quiet day in the hangar today.

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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:00
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Originally Posted by fdr View Post
  • assuming that this was accidental, then the P-63 seems to be working towards a rejoin of the P-51 and other preceding little friends, and that puts the line of sight for the pilot of the P-63 above his head, and to the left, well away from Texas Raider's. I would think that target fixation on the rejoin of relatively hard to see aircraft against the ground background may have distracted the P-63 pilot from his basic requirement to keep clear of what should be obvious traffic that he/she is overtaking.

Looks to be a strong possibility. Looking at the satellite view of the likely “background” the P-63 driver would have seen behind the B-17 shows a dark green wooded area.

Looking at the curving closure approach of the P-63 towards the B-17 may have presented the B-17 as almost stationary and ‘invisible’ to the P-63.


I base my thoughts on this video apparently taken from “Square 67 Shopping Center 6210 US 67 Frontage Rd Dallas, TX 75237”


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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:06
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From this video clip, what was the plane just landed, taxying, that just gets missed by the falling B17 ? He was very lucky...

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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:22
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Originally Posted by 9 lives View Post
T

When I worked with a well known US airplane restorer, formation flying (and thus air to air photography with their airplanes) was forbidden. This was because the progenitor of the excellent restoration process and STC for these airplanes was killed in an air to air with one of his own airplanes. I saw their point! Just fly the plane, forget the showing off!
You may as well just have a static display.

It appears to be a loss of SA.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:22
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With the benefit of eighty plus years of technological progress since these aircraft first flew and given the frequency of collisions both on the ground and in the air with these long-nosed low wing aircraft, research into the possible benefits of enhancing situational awareness with fin, belly and wingtip cameras plus something like FLARM has got to be worth a look, if we want to continue seeing historic aircraft flying together.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:29
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I wonder what the separation rules were; bombers one side of the runway, fighters the other? Different altitudes?

Does each aircraft make a single pass or multiple in this display?

Lots of videos from different angles
(
). Consider if you want to see before looking.

edit: not sure link is appearing.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:34
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The tragedy affords an extra layer of tribute to this morning's remembrance event at the former 381st Bomb Group memorial at Ridgewell airfield in the UK.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:44
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Originally Posted by finestkind View Post
You may as well just have a static display.

It appears to be a loss of SA.
My condolences. A terrible accident and I would have to agree with finestkind that loss of SA looks probable.

Either a formation join gone badly wrong, or the fighter, being belly-up in the turn, lost track of where the bomber was. Less likely, but pilot incapacitation is also a possibility.

I think formation training, experience and recency would be one of the first things the investigators will look at. A terrible loss and I hope the hard lessons can be learned without the FAA choosing the easy path of bans/boring displays like we've done in Europe.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 10:50
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Doubtless like many here, I recall the massed pass at the end of Duxford's Flying Legends. Impressive. All assembled well out over the countryside, and flying past in a steady formation, which took a considerable amount of briefing.

In contrast, looking at shots of Dallas, this seems to have been a ragged and high speed formation, in a constant left turn, done over a city. The accident aircraft were well up in the sequence, with many others being visible in various degrees of turn and spacing just behind them. Quite how someone in a close formation could even contemplate being in a 45-degree banked turn, unlikely to have been briefed, just seems extraordinary.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 11:31
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Originally Posted by Flying Binghi View Post
Looks to be a strong possibility. Looking at the satellite view of the likely “background” the P-63 driver would have seen behind the B-17 shows a dark green wooded area.
That is one of the hazards of flying these aircraft close to the ground. They are designed not to be seen. However, it's not the not seeing that's the problem in my opinion. Aircraft of differing speeds and routines should be separated by altitude and distance. If that is maintained, then there is no opportunity for collision. Like all accidents there will be multiple things at play here that all conspired to cause the conflict.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 11:44
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
Doubtless like many here, I recall the massed pass at the end of Duxford's Flying Legends. Impressive. All assembled well out over the countryside, and flying past in a steady formation, which took a considerable amount of briefing.

In contrast, looking at shots of Dallas, this seems to have been a ragged and high speed formation, in a constant left turn, done over a city. The accident aircraft were well up in the sequence, with many others being visible in various degrees of turn and spacing just behind them. Quite how someone in a close formation could even contemplate being in a 45-degree banked turn, unlikely to have been briefed, just seems extraordinary.
What I read somewhere else said by a pilot who appears to ave taken part in earlier shows is that the bombers are supposed to fly on one side of or over the runway, while smaller planes are to stay to the South of the runway. This would make sense. Given that this airshow has been going on for many years without any incident and given the CAF's track record, this appears to be a quite well planned and briefed air show.

Obviously there will be lots of people shouting for banning air shows totally, as it always happens after such tragic events. Instead, I suppose the folks in charge will look at this very carefully as the professionals they are will draw their conclusions how to do better in avoidance next time. The CAF have been instrumental in keeping these planes flying. I do vividly recall many times Iˆve read articles by former and current members about how careful they are, people like John Deakin or Randy Sohn discussing this on various platforms.

As sad as this event is, as long as there is one airplane in the air there is a risk of an accident. We, as professionals, are in a never ending learning process on how to avoid them and the safety record of aviation today as compared to the "old days" speaks for itself.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 11:45
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That's the big negative with airshow flying. If there is a screw up, it seen by millions. There is no dignity in that whatsoever.
May their souls, R.I.P.

Last edited by RichardJones; 13th Nov 2022 at 12:35.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 12:19
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
B-17, B-24 and a B-25 were closer to the crowd line, more or less over the runway, the P-51s looked to be south of the runway. They were all performing tear drop style reversals, tho the P-63 doesn't show up on ADSB. Speeds seem to have been around 150-200kts,
This is the track of the P63 on ADSB
Pretty fast and almost intercepting RWY centerline instead of staying south



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Old 13th Nov 2022, 12:57
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Very sad. I see it happened at Dallas Executive airport, or Redbird, as I fondly remember it. Learn’t to fly there in 1980.
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 13:12
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Originally Posted by skadi View Post
This is the track of the P63 on ADSB
Pretty fast and almost intercepting RWY centerline instead of staying south
38 seconds to descend from a sustained ~1500-1600 feet and 155-170 knots to a final of 215 knots and 550 feet, with turn such that he could not see outside it? In a sky full of metal?
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Old 13th Nov 2022, 13:17
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Related to me by someone connected to the airshow performance:

The Airboss had briefed the fighters to stay high and bombers to stay low, with the option for the fighters to share the bomber altitude block if everything looked clear.

Believing that it was, and that the bombers were clear of the runway centreline, Airboss cleared fighters to come down into the bomber block.

P-63 pilot did not expect traffic on the runway centreline and was looking left, into the turn, when the collision occurred.

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