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.”