Thursday, January 12, 2023

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, N7227C and Bell P-63F-1-BE Kingcobra, N6763: Fatal accident occurred November 12, 2022 at Dallas Executive Airport (KRBD, Texas


Honorable Michael E. Graham
National Transportation Safety Board

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Aguilera, Jason

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Dylan L. Garrison; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas
Commemorative Air Force; Dallas, Texas

American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum

American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum

Location: Dallas, Texas
Accident Number: CEN23MA034
Date and Time: November 12, 2022, 13:22 Local
Registration: N7227C (A1); N6763(A2)
Aircraft: Boeing B17 (A1); Bell P63 (A2) 
Injuries: 5 Fatal (A1); 1 Fatal (A2)
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Air race/show (A1); Part 91: General aviation - Air race/show (A2)

On November 12, 2022, about 1322 central standard time, a Boeing B-17G airplane, N7227C and a Bell P-63F airplane, N6763, collided in midair at the Dallas Executive Airport (RBD), Dallas, Texas. A post impact fire ensued. The pilot, co-pilot, and three crewmembers onboard the B-17G and the pilot of the P-63F were all fatally injured. There were no ground injuries reported. Both airplanes were operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 in the Wings Over Dallas Airshow.

The P-63F was number 3 of a three-ship formation of historic fighter airplanes and the B-17G was lead of a five-ship formation of historic bomber airplanes.

According to the recorded audio for the airshow radio transmissions and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data, the air boss directed both formations to maneuver southwest of the runway before returning to the flying display area, which was the designated performance area. He directed the fighter formation to transition to a trail formation, fly in front of the bomber formation, and proceed near the 500 ft show line. The bombers were directed to fly down the 1,000 ft show line. The 500 ft show line and 1,000 ft show line were 500 ft and 1,000 ft respectively from the airshow viewing line behind which the audience viewed the airshow.

There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air. When the fighter formation approached the flying display area, the P-63F was in a left bank and it collided with the left side of the B-17G, just aft of the wing section.

Both airplanes broke up in flight and impacted terrain in a grassy area on airport property south of the approach end of runway 31. A fire ignited in the wing center section of the B-17G as it descended to the ground. The B-17G exploded upon ground impact.

The debris field was generally aligned on a magnetic heading of 320°. Documentation of the accident site found all major flight control components for both airplanes located in the debris field.

Both airplanes were equipped with ADS-B. An Avidyne IFD540 unit from the B-17G and a Garmin GPSMAP 496 unit from the P-63F were recovered and submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory. The IFD-540 contained position information relevant to the accident; however, the GPSMAP 496 did not record any information for the accident flight.

The wreckage of both airplanes was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A1)

Aircraft Make: Boeing 
Registration: N7227C
Model/Series: B17 G 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information (A2)

Aircraft Make: Bell 
Registration: N6763
Model/Series: P63 F
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRBD,657 ft msl
Observation Time: 12:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C /-4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / 18 knots, 350°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.3 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information (A1)

Crew Injuries: 5 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: Both in-flight and on-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-ground
Total Injuries: 5 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.673779,-96.862801 (est)

Wreckage and Impact Information (A2)

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.673779,-96.862801 (est)

Newly released audio from the Wings Over Dallas air show gives insight into the moments before and after the collision that killed six airmen and destroyed two WWII-era aircraft in November.

A 36-minute air traffic control recording The Dallas Morning News obtained from the FAA contains conversations between multiple pilots and the show’s air boss, who is responsible for airshow operations on the taxiways, runways, and demonstration area.

The November 12 midair collision at Dallas Executive Airport involved a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra. One pilot was in the P-63 while two pilots and three crew members were in the B-17.

The Commemorative Air Force, which hosted the Wings Over Dallas show, identified those who died as Terry Barker, Craig Hutain, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, Len Root and Curt Rowe. No one on the ground was injured or killed.

Videos from spectators posted on social media show the P-63 banking and striking the B-17, which was flying straight. The impact disintegrated the P-63 and cracked the B-17 in two, with the front half of the fuselage exploding in flames as it hit the ground.

‘Knock it off. Roll the trucks.’

In the minutes before the collision, the air boss asks the bombers, including the B-17, if they have the fighters in sight and if the fighters see the B-17.

The air boss directs the fighters, including the P-63, to fly along the 500 foot line away from spectators and the bombers to do the same from the 1,000 foot line.

He tells the fighters to come through first and ahead of the bombers.

“Fighters will be a big pull and up to the right,” was the last transmission from the air boss before the crash at 1:21 p.m.

A moment of silence in the audio occurs before the air boss, with urgency in his voice, says “Knock it off. Knock it off. Roll the trucks. Roll the trucks.”

He tells some aircraft to hold position and seemingly diverts others to Lancaster Airport nearby as emergency responders and fire engines began responding to the crash.

When will a detailed report be released?

The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report November 30.

The four-page report did not determine a cause for the crash, but provided details about the minutes and maneuvers leading up to the collision.

The report confirmed the instructions heard in the audio about traveling along the 500 and 1,000 foot lines but when the fighter formation approached the performance area, the report says, the P-63 was in a left bank and collided with the left side of the B-17, just behind the wing section.

A full report on the collision is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

Leonard "Len" Root
SEPTEMBER 14, 1956 – NOVEMBER 12, 2022

Leonard Lloyd Root, age 66, was born September 14, 1956 in Pineville, Oregon, and passed away November 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. He was born to Lloyd Joseph Root and Rosabelle Huston Root.

Len’s love for flying started in 1972 as a student pilot. He gained his private pilot’s license at age 16, before graduating from Bend High School in Bend, Oregon in 1974. He studied aviation at Hesston College in Kansas and graduated in 1976.

Returning to Bend, Oregon, Len did flight instructing in various airplanes working his way up to multi engine aircraft. He flew for a small corporation before flying freight on the west coast. Len got his first corporate job with Dow Chemical in 1983 and moved to Lake Jackson, Texas.

Len started with American Airlines in February 1986 and moved to Dallas, Texas. Len’s 34-year career at American included flying the B-727, DC-10, MD-11, F-100, B-737, B-767/757, B-777 and A-320. Len also spent 5 years involved with the Americans Training department as an A-320 Checkairman. Len retired from American in 2021 as a B-787 International Captain. Len’s flying career did not stop after American Airlines, as he went to work with JSX Airlines shortly thereafter flying the EMB-145 as a training Captain.

Len’s love for flying went far beyond his career as he was a long-time member of the Commemorative Air Force including various wings within the CAF since 1993. He was most involved in the B-17 however flew multiple CAF aircraft as both Pilot in Command and Instructor Pilot including the L-5, C-45 (Twin Beech), C-47 (DC-3) and T-6 Texan. He was also a member of the Texas Soaring Club.

With God at his forefront and passion for serving others, Len was involved in many ministries through the years, including Grace Place, Airline Ambassadors, was an active member of Christ Is Your Life Ministry and a board member of With This Ring Ministries. Len and his wife often hosted small church groups in their home.

With his love for adventure, Len also enjoyed vintage auto racing. He was a long-time member of the Corinthian Vintage Auto Racing Club where he raced Formula Fords. Len loved to travel, especially with his wife, and made it his mission to see as many new places as possible.

The greatest thing about Len was his love for God, his family, and his ability to love people beyond measure, as he never met a stranger. Len had a very blessed life full of family and friends and unmeasurable love both given and received. In 1984, he started his family and by 1991 he had three daughters. Len later married his wife Angela in 2009 and welcomed her son and daughter into his family as his own.

Len was survived by his wife Angela; daughter Larisa Lichte and husband Tim and their five children, Evelyn, Elijah, Josiah, Allison & Madison; daughter Kendra Hockaday and husband Chad; daughter Rebekah Lowery and husband Damone and their four children, Nehemiah, Shiloh, Malachi & Azel; stepson Ryan Wallette and wife Rebecca and their three children, Adalynn, Nolan & Emmalynn; stepdaughter Alesha Damas and husband Tony; brother Marv Root and wife Rena; brother Steve Root and wife Linda; multiple cousins, nieces and nephews. Len was preceded in death by his father Lloyd Root and mother Rosabelle Root.

The family of Len Root wants to thank you for your presence today and expression of sympathy as it will always be remembered.

Memorial donations may be made at Keller’s Old Town Funeral Home to be distributed to various ministries.

Craig Stephen Hutain
JUNE 8, 1959 – NOVEMBER 12, 2022

Craig Stephen Hutain was born June 8, 1959, in Trenton, New Jersey and was taken from us on November 12, 2022, in Dallas, Texas in an aviation incident, but his larger-than-life persona and infectious smile will live on forever and never be forgotten.

Craig fiercely loved Lori, his wife of 20 years. They were truly blessed with a rare, long-lasting love rooted in kindness and affection. His two daughters, Traci and Kelli, were his proudest accomplishments, who he collectively called "his girls." Craig was a proud "Papi" to his five grandchildren, an adored brother to four siblings (Debbie, Beth, Alison, and David), and beloved son to his parents. Additionally, his circle of friends was truly family as well. Craig cherished and valued the relationships in his life and worked tirelessly for those that he loved; he was always available with a helping hand, to give practical advice, or to simply lend an ear.

Craig was passionate about flying. His father was a WWII pilot flying B-24's then became an airline pilot after the war ended. Craig started flying with his father in a J-3 Cub when he was 10, developing the love of flying that he demonstrated for the rest of his life. He obtained his private pilot certificate in 1975 at 17, the earliest age allowed. After graduating from Ventura High School in 1977, Craig attended Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo where he obtained a BS in aeronautical engineering. While in college, Craig worked as a Flight Instructor. He not only taught students how to fly but specialized in aerobatic and tailwheel instruction at the Santa Paula Airport in California.

Craig started with his first airline, Rocky Mountain Airways, in Colorado. There he flew the De Havilland Twin Otter and the Dash 7. Craig transitioned to the B-727 after Rocky Mountain became part of Continental Airlines in 1985. Later he flew the MD-80 before moving to Houston, where he became a captain on the B-737 and the lead line check airman for the Houston base. After the merger with United Airlines, he flew his new favorite jetliner, the B-777 to Europe, Asia, and South America.

Craig had 35,000 flying hours in over 100 types of aircraft. He held certificates as an airline transport pilot, commercial glider pilot, seaplane pilot, and instructor. Craig also flew corporate aircraft, including the Falcon 50, 7, and 9 for private individuals, and he was typerated in the G550. And in his "spare time," he enjoyed flying his personal airplane, a Vans RV8, as well as his friends' Albatross flying boat.

In addition to his airline career, Craig flew warbirds for the Commemorative Air Force. He began his airshow life in the pyro field, building and detonating special effects on the ground. He then started flying in airshows in 2009 as a pilot for TORA! TORA! TORA! He flew several variations of the T-6, most recently a P-36 Hawk (really an SNJ). Craig flew several other CAF warbirds, including a P-51 Mustang and a P-63 KingCobra for the Dixie Wing in Atlanta, and a Florida-based P-40 Warhawk. In Texas, he flew a different P-51, the P-39 Airacobra, and its latter variant, the P-63F KingCobra—the only one of its kind in the world.

Craig was well known for inspiring young people to become pilots. He always had time to put them in his cockpit, show them how things worked, and answer their questions. Craig was very proud of inspiring his daughter, Kelli, to earn her private pilot certificate, which she successfully earned in 2006 with the help and support of her father. Craig was also the inspiration for his nephew, Doug, to earn his private pilot certificate in 2020. They spent countless hours in the cockpit of an airplane together.

If something could fly, Craig wanted to fly it, whether it was an impeccably folded paper airplane for his kids, an RC model plane in an open field, or the frame of a biplane tucked away in his collection that he had dreams of restoring to its previous glory someday.

In addition to aviation, Craig was a talented musician. He played bass in many bands and—if given the opportunity—was known to jump on stage to jam for an evening. He was an excellent cook who enjoyed everything about his meal from chatting with the butcher at the grocery store to beautifully plating it up. Craig was an avid scuba diver and a fearless downhill skier, two interests that he loved sharing with his friends and family. Craig could often be found happily taking on the task of getting everyone's scuba gear packed and organized, a labor of love that helped get everyone in the water. Endless little things like this seemed simple in the moment, when in reality they were impactful ways he removed barriers for his people. He could build a house from the ground up, and there was absolutely nothing that he could not problem solve. He connected with his daughters over hobbies and was endlessly proud and patient as he taught them skills and encouraged curiosity, challenges, and personal growth in every aspect of their lives.

Similarly, Craig just loved traveling and worked hard to give his family the gift of exploring the world. He and Lori recently went to Germany to connect with her family history, and the two of them had recently been discovering the relaxing (and different for them!) enjoyment of cruises. He brought back little treasures for his grandkids—a sparkly stone from Greece, a tube of "the best mustard in the world" from Germany, a video to share of a particularly lovely flight over Greenland. Before his girls settled into their own years of adulthood and becoming mothers, he was intentional about giving them formative travel experiences. One weekend, he took his art-inspired daughter Traci to Paris just to give her the experience of the city. He wanted them to tilt their heads at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, look up in awe at the Sistine Chapel, to feel the warm sandy beaches of Mexico, know the exhilaration of a deep cave dive with sharks, the unique enchantment of ski towns, the luxury of a lazy poolside afternoon, and the stillness of stargazing under a deep black sky.

A huge part of Craig's life was his interest in Fords (particularly Mustangs), notably his first car—a 1965 Mustang 289 coupe that was one of his most prized possessions. To know Craig was to know about his butter yellow 65'. He completely rebuilt a gorgeous 1969 Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet just for the joy of it, only to turn around and sell the car "to make room in his garage" for another project—such a testament to how much he thrived on process-driven hobbies. His most recent project was the restoration of a 427 Ford Cobra Roadster. Craig loved driving fast, windows down, music loud. He could often be found in his garage working on a hot rod.

Dang, Craig was such a good one. He loved nothing more than to share his life in his own authentic, charming way. He was a natural entertainer, a warm host, and generous with his time. Gifted with a magnetic personality, he was the life of any party.

In lieu of a service, Craig's family asks that you raise a drink of choice in his honor and live life with the joie de vivre that Craig lived his.

Dan Alexander Ragan
July 26, 1934 - November 12, 2022

Dan Alexander Ragan was born on July 26, 1934, and died tragically on November 12, 2022. He leaves behind June, his wife of 62 years and his twin brother, Don. He is also survived by nephew Kenneth Ragan, Jr., and nieces Cynthia Ragan Henning, Laura Ragan Chatham, and Karen Ragan Smith, as well as June's numerous nieces and nephews, who adored him as their own uncle. There are many great nieces and nephews on both sides. He was preceded by his parents, Stuart Eston Ragan and Virginia Ragan, his brother Kenneth Ragan and sister, Gloria Nylen.

As a young man, Dan was a naval aviator. His mission was surveillance over the Pacific Ocean and the Straits of Taiwan and countries surrounding China. There he developed his love for airplanes and flying. Over the years, he built hundreds of WWII models. He built one large model of his beloved B-17, which he donated to the Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. He was flying in that plane at the time of his death.

Dan attended Oklahoma State University where he received a BS in Electrical engineering and Southern Methodist University where he received an MBA. Dan was proud when he became a Sigma Chi at Oklahoma State and became a Life Loyal Sig.

Dan was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City. He was active in his churches, being a deacon and an elder and serving as Boy Scout Leader. He also liked to usher where he could greet and welcome people as they came in. Dan loved the Utah Symphony and was an officer of the Utah Symphony Guild, helping to plan fund-raising events.

He loved to travel and had been around the world several times. He had been to all seven continents and over 100 countries, many while doing business, as well as pleasure trips. He particularly loved Asia because of his early navy days, and he and June continued travel after he retired. He and June lived in Hong Kong and still have many friends in Asia. Dan loved skiing, bird watching, big band music, and working jigsaw puzzles. He loved getting dressed up for formal affairs, as well as always being a natty dresser.

Dan and June moved back to Dallas to be near family after living 33 years in Salt Lake City. The Edgemere community could not be more kind, loving, and supportive, and June is grateful to be surrounded with caring staff (from top to bottom) and residents.

A private committal with Navy Honors is planned, and future Memorial Service will be announced later.

Donations in lieu of flowers: charity of your choice or Go to: “support” Select: “donation in honor of an individual” Type: CAF and the name of memorialized.

Major Curtis J. Rowe

A 30-year member of the Ohio Wing Civil Air Patrol, Major Curtis J. Rowe, 64, died on November 12, 2022 while performing an aerial demonstration at the Wings Over Dallas air show at the Dallas Executive Airport, according to a statement from CAP Commander Peter K. Bowden.

“Curt touched the lives of thousands of his fellow Civil Air Patrol members, especially when flying cadets during hundreds of orientation flights over the course of his service,” Bowden said. “Please take a moment to reflect on the service of Major Curt Rowe as we celebrate his life and contributions to his community, state, and nation.”

Rowe’s family and friends said he loved planes, flying, and teaching others.

“There’s not very many like him around,” said his cousin Tom Rowe. “It’s a chip off the old block, as the old saying goes, and people like him are kind of a rarity.”

Tom Rowe said most people called his cousin Curt.

“He was a funny, very funny guy,” Tom Rowe said. “He loved his family. He had great pride in his country and in serving his country.”

Rowe volunteered to fly on a vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Commemorative Air Force, according to Bowden.

With over three decades of service to the Ohio Wing of CAP, Rowe served in a number of roles, including safety officer, operations officer, and most recently an Ohio Wing Maintenance Officer. Rowe also volunteered at the Johnson Flight Academy in Mattoon, Illinois, Bowden said.

Linda Masdea Brunetto and Rick Brunetto first met Rowe through Columbus’ music scene, calling him the most loving, giving person they’ve known.

“He really became our guardian angel,” they said. “He was the kind of person when he was around, you knew everything was OK. And it was like that for everyone. It wasn’t just us and it wasn’t just the Valley Dale (Ballroom).”

Rowe’s ability to teach young flying cadets was something his cousin said made him special.

“Just his ability to communicate and really be able to reach those young people, I think, is a testament to the kind of person he was and how special he was,” Tom Rowe said.

Terry Barker
August 16, 1955 - November 12, 2022

Terry Michael Barker, age 67, was born August 16, 1955, in Warren, Arkansas, and passed away November 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. He was born to Robert Lee Barker and Elizabeth Mae Cook Barker.

Terry graduated from North Mesquite High School in 1973. He then attended Eastfield Junior College as a member of the baseball team in 1974 and 1975. He served his country proudly in the United States Army as a Huey and Cobra Pilot from 1975 to 1978 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Terry obtained his fixed-wing pilot’s license during his time in the Army. Following his honorable discharge, he enrolled in the aviation program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University where he met the love of his life, Karen Kathleen Abitz. Shortly after, Terry took Karen on a Cessna flight to Tulsa to celebrate Karen’s birthday. Mid-flight he pulled a ring box out of his cowboy boot and proposed over the Okmulgee VOR. Terry graduated and then married Karen on October 4, 1980, in Durant, Oklahoma.

From there, they moved to Ada, Oklahoma where he flew for an air hearse company. Then, along with his father-in-law, he started his own company, Southwest Air Hearse. In March of 1982, they moved to North Philadelphia where Terry flew a Learjet for an aerial surveying company. In August of 1984, on his 29th birthday, “American Airlines” called and offered him a job as a flight engineer based in New York. Of course, Terry thought it was a joke and hung up on them. Fortunately, they called back!

Terry was a top rated pilot for well over 40 years. He retired from a successful career with American Airlines where he was a Check Airman on the Fokker 100, Airbus A300, and the Boeing 777. As a firearms enthusiast, Terry was especially proud to be a Federal Flight Deck Officer. To celebrate becoming a junior Captain, in true Terry fashion, he purchased his “I love me” gift – a 1990 Porsche Guards Red 944. This kicked off his long-standing involvement in the Porsche Club of America, where he and Karen have participated in yearly Porsche drives.

Terry’s other hobbies included snow skiing, learning to play the guitar, and building airplanes to avoid home remodeling and the “honey-do” list. Additionally, he enjoyed being a member of the HITUTOA group. Most mornings you could find Terry with the “Keller Coffee Clique,” sarcastically reading the group's horoscopes and doing his daily sudoku puzzle.

Terry loved to help and serve. He served the Keller community as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission from 1995 to 1999 and was elected to two terms on the Keller City Council helping guide our community from 1999 to 2003. Terry was involved in many organizations. He was a member of Quiet Birdmen as Key Man and Governor. Terry was the Maintenance Officer for the Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force and a member of the Grey Eagles.

Above all, Terry was most proud of his family. He loved to travel and support his sons, especially while they played baseball. As a family, they enjoyed watching and attending games of local professional sports teams. Most recently, Terry took pride in being a grandfather and spending time with his new grandson, Brooks.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Karen Barker; son Nathan Barker with his wife Brandi and their son, Brooks; his son, Caleb Barker; his mother, Elizabeth Barker, all of Keller; sister, Jennifer Horton and her husband Randy of Mansfield and his nieces and nephews whom he always asked, “Who loves you the most? …Uncle Terry!”

Terry is preceded in death by his father, Robert Barker; grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles.

Memorial donations may be made to the Terry Barker Memorial Fund - Click Here to Donate

Kevin Michels

Kevin Michels, 53, was a crewmember on the B-17 Flying Fortress when two planes crashed on November 12.

Michels is originally from the Denver area of Colorado. Loved ones say he graduated from Golden High School in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1987 and was on the wrestling team.

Michels moved to Austin in 2001. Several years later, he moved back to Colorado. But according to his dear friend of 21 years, Scott Reed, Michel’s heart led him back to Central Texas. Michels had recently moved to Leander.

“We just had their going-away party here in Denver a few months ago,” said Reed. “It’s a shame he didn’t get to enjoy Austin a bit more again.”

Michels had come out of retirement when he moved back to the Austin area a few months ago. Applied Materials in Austin confirms Michels was an employee with the company and told KVUE:

“Applied Materials is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our Austin employees and dedicated volunteer of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) organization, Kevin Michels. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

Reed and Michels met in 2001 when Reed was in charge of the "Denver Broncos in Austin" club. Michels, a passionate fan of the football team, walked into a bar where Reed was hosting the club looking for a place to watch a game. The rest was history, Reed said.

”As much as I think he’s my best friend in the whole world, almost every guy I know says that about him,” said Reed.

“He was just one of those kinds of people. [Michels] just walked in and started watching with us, yelling at the Broncos with us,” Reed said. “He was always like that with people – big people person.”

Reed said Michels leaves behind a common-law wife, Paula, and her son, Dylan, whom Michels took on as his own. Reed calls Michel a family man who loved the two deeply.

“In my opinion, it’s two of his best accomplishments that he’s done,” Reed said, “taking care of that wonderful woman and helping raise that good kid.”

Michels and Reed shared many close friends but said they lost one of them, George Yudovitz, several years ago. Reed said he is comforted knowing that Michels died not only doing what he loved, but also knowing he is with Yudovitz. They lovingly called him Georgey.

“I’d tell [Michels] to hug Georgy for me. Because I know they’re both in a better place,” Reed said through tears. “I know he’s in a better place.”


  1. About as sad and tragic as it gets...

  2. Thinking back to air shows attended in the early 1970s, the only multi-ship demonstrations at the Kissimmee Air Show would be the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds. Bob Hoover would do his Rockwell Shrike Commander and P-51 flying demonstrations as the sole aircraft aloft, as would the other performers. If a pilot made an error or had a problem as the sole aircraft aloft, no other aircraft was going to be at risk of a mid-air.

    Having multiple aircraft aloft in somewhat of a battle simulation brought with it this unfortunate accident possibility. Maybe the simpler format of the early 1970's wouldn't satisfy the crowd as well these days, but back then the multi ship flying at the show was only done by highly practiced crews in identical aircraft, and even they weren't invincible.

  3. wonder what prior flight time the pilot had in the P-63F King Cobra with the bombers prior to show, as this was "the only one of its kind in the world."

  4. “There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air.” - This pretty much summarized the investigation. Formation flying 101.

    1. WRONG. This was NOT a "formation" flight where the wingman's eyes remain fixed on his leader who is reponsible for the safe operion of his flight. This was an "in-trail"_ maneuver with each of the Fighters seperated by a safe distance...folowing each other visually "in trail". The basic responsibity under these condtions for saftey and seperation according to all directives, FAA regs etc is the repsonsibiltiy of "THE PILOT IN COMMAND"....not the airboss or nyone slese.
      THE PIC in thi sintance failke dto fulfill that basic epsonsibilty and those whoasses the problem to altiyude separation or any other circunstance obcisuly habve little or no experince in this type of flying. This is a completely safe operaion having been excutted hundreds of times.

    2. WRONG! This was NOT a formation flight where the leader is responsible for the safe operation of his flight...vertical, horizantally., latterlly...SEPERATION. This was a single ship, "in-trail" maneuver with distance and altitude seperating all three aircaft placing that repsonsibility on the PILOT IN COMMAND of each individual aircraft. Each pilot therefor is responsible for maintaining "situational awrareness of his/her aircaft to all other aircraft not only including the aircraft he /she is following "in-trail".
      Assesing responsibility to the Airboss who was NOT in command of any of the paticparting arivcraft is a failure to undertand and comply with the approriate FAR's.

      Repsonsibiltiy: IF...IF the Airboss provided "advisories" to fly into the ground would the PIC comply. Someone is looking for a scapegoat to "throw under the bus" when the utlimate repsonsibility is crytal clrear to all who fly...PILOT IN COMMAND.

  5. The EAA has been doing this type of airborne review for years; doing it safely and with multiple briefings for all pilots. This tragedy was put into motion when the air boss decided to cross the designated orbits for the fighters and bombers. It was a recipe for disaster, and I'm certain that he will bear some responsibility for this horrifying accident as will the pilot of the P-63F. This terrible accident is a graphic reminder of the mandate to always keep eyes outside when other traffic is nearby and be vigilant in every direction.

  6. Why didn't "see and avoid" prevent this ?

    1. Title 14 Chapter I Sub chapter F Part 91 Subpart B General § 91.113
      (f) Overtaking. Each aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way and each pilot of an overtaking aircraft shall alter course to the right to pass well clear. @

    2. "Why didn't "see and avoid" prevent this ?"

      Simply put, you can't avoid something that you cannot see.

      In a low-wing aircraft like the Bell, you cannot see what's directly below you, as the wing and fuselage is blocking the view. Also, military aircraft of that era tend to have very poor visibility in general, compared to more modern designs.

      At this point, it appears the person 'running the airshow' (known as the Airboss) issued a command to the Bell to deviate from the planned flight, and it's pilot did as it was instructed, trusting that the person issuing the command wouldn't put him on a collision course with other aircraft...

    3. The airboss was Russell Royce.

    4. Good cockpit video of a flight in a King Cobra. The banks show how the pilot has almost zero external visibility of anything up ahead.
      Regardless, losing sight of an object the size of a B-17 is mind boggling - especially since he knew it was there and probably where it was supposed to be. The air boss is the key

    5. It is my understanding that the airboss was not long time CAF airboss Russell Royce, but his son, and that it was his first airshow as the airboss. There is a Juan Browne Blancolirio youtube video that I found very informative where Juan goes through the recorded audio and transcript of this event with his added commentary.

    6. It is my understanding that the airboss was not long time CAF airboss Russell Royce, but his son, and that this was his first time officiating as airboss. Juan Browne of youtube channel Blancolirio posted a video where he goes over the audio and transcript with his added commentary that that I found quite insightful:

    7. Lots of blame to go around, but my opinion is that the P63 pilot should not have lost awareness of the B17. Yes, we know in the turn he could not see it, but he should have known it could possibly be in his path.

    8. "Yes, we know in the turn he could not see it, but he should have known it could possibly be in his path."

      Trust. Absolute trust that everyone involved is doing *exactly* what they should, when they should.

      That is what makes an airshow function safely. In this instance, the necessary trust was misplaced, and 6 people died, and 2 beautiful artifacts were destroyed by the apparent incompetence of someone 'trusted' to run it safely...

    9. Trust and hope is not adequate planning for informal "teams".

      Waiting for NTSB to illuminate the details on what reference material was being relied upon for doing *exactly* what they should, when they should. If no written & diagrammed plans were handed out and the whole thing was based on a verbal stand up briefing, the show format needs to reduce to a static exhibit fly-in.

    10. Sorry. But fuck the artifacts .

  7. Maybe the final report will address how many all-up practice runs were made by each ship before show day for the intended maneuvering. Might be zero or very little or rationalized as "bunch of us were at the previous show, it will be okay".

    People reciting the FARs aren't recognizing the big picture. Pilots should evaluate planned flying for shows in the same manner that experienced riders treat group motorcycle rides: Anyone you never previously rode with in a group might cause an accident and take you out.

    PIC responsibility includes the planning phase. Know when to say no.

    1. NTSB preliminary findings, “Both airplanes were operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 in the Wings Over Dallas Airshow,” and that the aircraft were part of two different airship formations, as the Bell P-63 fighter and Boeing B-17 bomber were flying in three and five-ship formations, respectively. 

    2. "part of two different airship formations".
      In effect, two separate "air shows" going on at the same time.

  8. I think this just shows that all those dingdongs on youtube and instagram posting selfies of them and their buddies "formation flying" when it's obvious they had no training are an accident waiting to happen. No one needs to see more videos of a few bonanzas flying close together.

  9. This is all down to poor preshow planning, then multiple improvisations by the airboss, eventually putting the fighters and bombers at the same altitude in a crossing flightpath. That none of the fighters said “hold on, this is a bad idea” could be a little on them. There’s a small aspect of see and avoid by the collision aircraft as well, however you can’t really see what’s under you and the #3 fighter definitely had the B-17 below the nose in that turn, until perhaps the last split second (when it was too late).

    However, the released audiotapes show how chaotic it was, with new, bad ideas being given in the form of instructions and you can just hear the resulting loss of situational awareness as it develops. I’m not sure anybody really could have pulled from all that the error that was made, while it was going on.

  10. NOT following airboss instructions could put a pic in big trouble. 5 bombers and 3 fighters in that space is a lot of fast moving metal. 'the air boss decided to cross the designated orbits for the fighters and bombers'. This required fighter to catch up pass and cross over from the bombers left side to get ahead. "He tells the fighters to come through first and ahead of the bombers. "Fighters will be a big pull and up to the right,” ... not much time to discuss ... not sure about big pull ?... without visibility, fighter trusted the air boss could see and meant he was clear ... choreography on the fly did not work well in this case. the way I see it. Looking forward to the official NTSB report.

  11. A telling hint as to the AirBoss lack of knowledge is him calling the turn reversals a 90-270 which they were not doing. I detected a hint of lack of confidence in the bomber response to the AirBoss 90-270 instruction responding with the proper term “ dogbone” which is a 45 into a teardrop.

  12. Lots of non-standardized, changing terminology as well. “Raiders” vs “Bombers,” “American Fighters” vs “Fighters.”

    Fairly inconsequential in and of itself, but indicative of a larger lack of standards.

  13. Step back from this and ask yourself whether the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds would rely on real-time flight path directions from someone on the ground while performing their demonstration.

    Of course not. The "air boss" title can belong to the person reading down the sequence of operations to inform the crowd about what's next, but that person has no business directing flight paths. The show's sequence of aircraft should launch in the order worked out ahead of time and the pilots involved fly the scripted routine they had practiced together before the event, exactly as practiced.

    1. "...ask yourself whether the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds would rely on real-time flight path directions from someone on the ground while performing their demonstration."

      I believe that's the way the military airshow guys do it. If you notice, once they are in the air, no one else is in the air around them.

      And they are *highly* disciplined to do the airshow routine exactly as they planned it...

  14. my question is why did flight crews not QUESTIONED and or request prior on the ground (as the NTSB report shows "no altitude deconflictions discussed before, during show...") provisions that fast and slow planes can't be at the same altitude.
    NTSB also noted the fast fighter planes were told to fly ahead of a formation of slow bombers which made sense, thus why was the P63 behind, above and descending thru the bombers and on a intersecting flight path.

    1. Speaking strictly as an observer, It doesn't appear that the change of tracks was part of the original plan. This was something done on the fly (no pun intended) by the airboss, Russell Royce.

    2. notable resume @ fwairshow.
      "Ralph Royce began flying at 17, was Executive Director of the CAF, joined the Lone Star Flight Museum of 1991 and founded the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. Type rated in the B17, TBM, F6F, C60 (L18), he holds an unlimited piston powered letter from the FAA, has flown over 100 air shows, and air bossed over 250 shows. Involved in Air Show production and management since 1976, he has operated an aviation event consulting and air boss/announcing business for twenty years and is well known throughout the Air Show industry.
      Royce is Chairman of the International Council of Air Shows’ Safety Committee. He is lead instructor for the Industry’s Air & Ground Operations Seminar, both basic and advanced, taught at the ICAS Convention, the FAA Academy, and the USAF Air Show Workshop."

    3. Ralph's son was calling the show. Some background (2021):

  15. I would question 2 rows of planes instead of a single file or at least both 2 show lines and each at different altitudes. The Cobra could have strayed into the bomber's show line but if higher nothing would have happened besides a serious deviation which I understand is a big deal.

    1. Would be easy to keep the B-17 in view through the canopy if the Cobra was organized to be below the bombers assigned level. And bombers are bigger than fighters, so having them higher up than fighters doesn't make them tiny to the crowd's vision as they go by.

      Must not have had written plans to give the ships. A 2021 video of the same event showed a verbal briefing, almost nobody was taking notes when altitudes were being talked about.

  16. The P-63 pilot broke an air racing and formation flying basic rule when he went "belly up" to the B-17.

    1. But this wasn't air racing or formation flying.

    2. A fighter was told to do a hard pull while another aircraft was in the skid zone of his turn, seems like it became air racing while formation flying, at the direction of the "air boss"..

  17. The Crash Air Force strikes again. Having watch these idiots crash an Avenger at KGEU, and knowing their cowboy attitude towards accuracy, history, and everything else relative, I KNEW it was only a matter of time until they did something like this. Those men in that B-17 didn't deserve to die at the hands of a moron, but at least they didn't do it over the crowd. They can (and probably will) do that next time.

    This organization has, since its inception, been dangerous and an utter disservice to the brave men who flew these airplanes in combat, and has promoted such misinformation that generations of enthusiasts will be chronically uninformed.

    1. I don't remember a CAF Avenger crashing at Glendale. When was this?

  18. A horrific loss of life witnessed by scores of people who didn't have "watch six people die violently" on their list of things to do that day. And the loss of two historic airplanes not terribly long after the loss of the B-17 "909" (slipshod maintenance, inadequate operational oversight, poorly trained crew), and THAT tragedy wasn't terribly long after the loss of "Liberty Belle" (thankfully no fatalities, but once again slipshod maintenance and insufficient oversight of maintenance).

    How many people have to die in these amateur hour accidents before the FAA steps in and just says "enough"? Do we need to wait until a large warbird ends up plowing into the crowd (kind of like Reno 2011)? The reality is this: The CAF is AMPLY funded and yet they still cut corners on training (and that includes their Air Boss cadre). Organizations like Collings Foundation are awash in private and donated money, but still cheaped out on maintenance and pilot training and shunned objective oversight. Ladies and gentlemen, this nonsense needs to stop or Uncle Sugar and Paternity Leave Pete are going to stop it for us, assuming the planning for that isn't already underway.

    Five men in that B-17 had no idea what hit them. I suspect the pilot of the P-63 either never saw the B-17 or didn't see it until it was much too late. The B-17 was likely in its intended position, the P-63, not so much. They ended up in those spots because of poor planning, a weak Air Boss, and a profound lack of oversight from competent and objective safety professionals. And this is not unlike the 909 tragedy. Horrifically bad maintenance by this admittedly nice old man who no one wanted to offend by suggesting maybe being Chief Pilot AND Maintenance Inspector wasn't such a good idea. Top that off with the fact that the passengers - innocent bystanders who took safety as a given - were given an utterly inadequate safety briefing by a "Crew Chief" who wasn't even in a SEAT WITH HIS SEAT BELT ON during takeoff. What on earth were people thinking when they allowed these absolutely foolish policies to be implemented?

    I've watched the FAA destroy the careers of scores of innocent pilots and mechanics who made honest or relatively benign mistakes, and yet this nonsense continues with relatively little action coming from the folks with the blue badges. When they finally decide to take action, it's going to be a really sad day in the warbird and airshow communities and the members of those communities will have only themselves to thank.

  19. Daddy's little boy, freshly fired by the FAA, must face manslaughter charges.

  20. Replies
    1. Manslaughter? Really? Horse$hi7. Royce wasn't in the airplane. That would be the equivalent of someone pointing the finger at Chuck Yeager for the crash and death of Bell Aircraft Chief Test Pilot Jack Woolams' P-39 Cobra I. I've never heard an "aviator" point the finger at another aviator for the death of another aviator, until now. Remember FAR 91.3? Blaming Royce is an insult to all aviators globally.

    2. Yeah - It's like a soldier in Iraq that lost both legs, along with half his johnson-rod after stepping on an IED and then his battle brother pointing the finger at the CO. Shit don't happen between MEN that signed up for the same job. "...the final authority as to the safe operation..." Like I read in another thread - airplanes ain't toys, they're tools.

    3. Seeing the ubiquitous "FARs/written in blood" commenter all over the KR comments lately. Most people recognize troll posts like the 10:35 PM and 10:37 PM ones for what they are, but it isn't credible to suggest that the actions of the "air boss" were blameless.

      Attempts to make analogies about legendary pilots who can recite FARs from memory or Yeager or Snort and so on makes it seem like we will soon be offered Little Billy's Uncle Ted story about bailing out of Ted's warbird over Nam.

    4. I'd bet that "FAR written in blood" person is likely with the FAA. It's always the FAA people that write "written in blood." I spent a semester in college (Psych) where I sandbagged with several general aviation accident investigators and that phrase was frequently used. Gotta give it to the FAR's though. Follow those to the letter and your chances of survival, not to mention keeping your tickets increases significantly. Every time a crash occurs, an FAR was broken somewhere along the line - usually multiple times. Looks like the FAA dude touched a nerve too but I agree with the troll, the airboss wasnt in the plane. It's like telling someone to jump off a bridge. Do you do it or not.

  21. NTSB says "There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were in the air."

    The show organizers should ask their next air boss to designate someone to handle the altitude deconfliction tasks. Surprising that it wasn't the air boss's responsibility this time around.

  22. This wasn't an IFR flight and the "Air Boss" is not an FAA Air Traffic Controller. Pilots have a regulatory obligation to see and avoid other aircraft There is also § "91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations" to consider, as well as another long list of actions/regulations. The Cobra pilot will be found at fault (pilot error) and the Air Boss will only be a contributing factor - just a link in the chain of events that took many an aviator's life. Pilots that are finger pointing shall enter politics where they belong.

    1. ^ NTSB says no brief given by air boss on altitudes to fly. Reply guy comes back with a IFR and ATC comparison. When you can fly any altitude you like, it's a free for all. With altitude separation, no chance that the P63 collides with the bomber parade. Simple.

    2. Why not do as aviation lawyers do and blame the manufacturers of both airplanes, the manufacturers of the engines, both pilots, every crew member...hey, why not also blame the passengers...and file lawsuits against every one of those companies and individuals?

      Of course that would be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as it is to blame the air boss for this accident.

      From what we know so far, this is a case of one pilot (or maybe both pilots) not practicing "see and avoid," resulting in this tragedy.

    3. So confusing. If it isn't the air boss's responsibility to brief planned altitudes or notice they are all flying at the same altitudes, then all you need to be as an air boss is someone who can read a script with a good studio voice, like Bob Barker had on let's make a deal.

      NTSB figured it out.

  23. Air Boss will be found guilty of manslaughter.

  24. Come on guys. All of the blame for this horrible event is solidly on the P-63 pilot. To consider anything else has no foundation in reality.

    1. P-63 simply didn't avoid mid-air that was set up by air boss. For the P-63 pilot to be assigned "all blame", the air boss would have to brief altitude separation before the flight AND not fail to notice lack thereof in real time.

      Put the air boss failures to a jury = big %share in responsibility.