Another video of the mid-air collision involving B-17 bomber and a small plane at Dallas Executive Airport pic.twitter.com/w7llZmvCGZ
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) November 12, 2022
The midair occurred when the pilot of a Confederate Air Force (now known as the Commemorative AF, I’m sure for the obvious reason) Bell P63 Kingcobra inadvertently flew into the B17’s airspace, hitting the bomber just behind its port-side wingroot, near as I can make out. Everybody is probably familiar with the B17 Flying Fortress, I expect much less so for the P63, so here ya go.
The Kingcobra was the successor to the P39 Aerocobra (or Airacobra, as the RAF dubbed it), a pursuit/interceptor aircraft with which its pilots had what you might call a love/hate relationship. Although the P39 was adequately armed and sturdy enough generally, the heavy airframe was hindered in aerial combat by an excruciatingly poor rate of climb and relatively low ceiling. While the P39 saw service in nearly every national air force and all theaters in WW2, the P63 only saw action with the Soviet Air Force, and was rejected by the USAAF, even though it surpassed the capabilities of its near-ubiquitous older brother in every possible way.
Both the P39’s and P63’s original powerplant was the same Allison V-1710 V12 engine that condemned the P51 Mustang to also-ran status in its early career, until it was eventually replaced with the more-powerful, just-plain-better Rolls Royce Merlin, instantly transforming the Mustang into the legendary world-beater it was destined to be.
I’ve attended many Warbirds airshows, which are always wonderful, and know the CAF pilots and ground-crews to be highly-skilled, seasoned devotees of the old WW2-era piston-engine warplanes, meticulous to the nth degree about maintenance and safety. I hate so much to see something like this happen, I truly do. May God receive into His mighty arms the souls of the men who left this mortal coil this awful afternoon, and grant to them eternal peace.
Update! Six dead: five B17 crew, and the P63 pilot. Prayers up, y’all.