Transmission audio from the Wings Over Dallas air show has shed some light on what happened in the moments before the midair collision.
Six people were killed in the crash between two WWII-era aircraft at the Wings Over Dallas air show in November 2022, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
The aircraft involved were a Boeing B-17G airplane (N7227C) and a Bell P-63F airplane (N6763); the pilot, co-pilot, and three crewmembers onboard the B-17G and the pilot of the P-63F were fatally injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board has now released its preliminary report on the accident detailing recorded audio from the air show.
The air boss directed both formations of bombers and fighters to maneuver southwest of the runway before returning to the designated performance area. He directed the fighter formation, which included the P-63, to fly in front of the bomber formation, with fighters flying near the 500-foot show line while the bombers flew down the 1,000-foot show line.
As the aircraft approached the performance area, the P-63 banked left, colliding with the bomber.
While the report does not detail the exact cause of the crash, the report confirms that no altitude deconfliction, which is a means of coordinating in the airspace to avoid collisions, was run before or during the flight.
The Dallas Morning News received a 36-minute audio log of the air show from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailing conversations between pilots and the air show boss.
Aviation expert Richard Levy analyzed this audio, noting that the air boss asked the bombers if they had the fighters in sight and if the fighters saw the B-17 bomber.
Levy said that the aircraft appeared to make visual contact.
“Fighters will be a big pull and up to the right,” was the last audio transmission from the air boss before the planes crashed.
Heavy silence persisted for a moment after the crash, broken by the air boss saying, “Knock it off. Knock it off. Roll the trucks. Roll the trucks.”
Other aircraft were ordered to hold position while others were diverted to Lancaster Airport. First responders and fire engines were then dispatched to the crash.
While the audio log provides a clearer idea of what happened before the crash, an official cause has not yet been cited.
A full report of the crash is expected to be released in 12 to 18 months.