What happened at Wings Over Dallas?

| December 5, 2022

B-17G Texas Raiders in 2011

We talked about this B-17/P-63 crash when it happened last month. I came across a YouTube video that explores the how it happened, now that the NTSB has released a preliminary report. Sounds like it was an error on the part of the air boss calling the pattern from the ground. A mid-event change in the order in which the aircraft were flying led the fighters (two P-51s and the P-63) to cross over the pattern of the B-17 (and other bombers). This was to move them from an escort position in which they were trailing the bombers to one in which they were leading them.

As the P-63 moved to follow the air boss’s direction, he collided with the B-17, never even knowing it was there. That he didn’t see the B-17 was something that came up in our amateur, armchair investigation.

Here’s the video;

With all the video/camera feeds, ATC recordings, and ADS-B data, this might be the best documented mid-air collision ever.

Category: Air Force

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Anna Puma

It is simply terrible. No briefings on altitude deconflicting. And literally on the fly change in plans.

Six people died.


Sad, pointless, empty death of some good guys.

Old tanker

There is some new video that suggests a possible strike between a drone and the P63. The image is very blurry / faint but the P63 changes attitude and drops down into the B17 right after the impact. When I looked at it I could not make out what the object was, drone or bird. It was too far away to determine if there was fragments / feathers after impact. I have no idea if this video / theory was out before the prelim NTSB report was released.

Anna Puma

Got a link?


Buzzard. (It’s Texas… )


Totally avoidable tragedy. We called it here, somebody f’ed up. I, too, saw a blurb about a possible drone (UAV) in the airspace. It has gone poof. Still looking.

Anna Puma

There is no sense of depth in that still image.

Considering how many other videos we have of the mid-air incident, why is this the only one showing this?

Mike B

In depth discussion about the mishap itself on a warbird site.



Low wing aircraft losing altitude at a higher airspeed than aircraft flying straight and level. Looked like a fuselage strike above the trailing edge of the B-17 wing.

Worked at local airport pumping gas (age 14 to 16) for flying lessons. One of the early lessons was know what is below or above and around you before descending or climbing.

Flew high wing (Piper J-3 Cub (my favorite with window above front seat), Taylorcraft BC-12D, Cessna 150/172 mostly but got nervous getting time in low wing Beechcraft Bonanza and North American Navion.