The National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday it has launched an official investigation into Saturday’s mid-air collision of two vintage WWII plans that left six people dead — but it’s going to take a while to get any answers.
“This is the beginning of a long process,” Michael Graham, a board member of NTSB, spoke at a Texas press briefing. “We will not jump to any conclusions and the information that I will provide today is preliminary.
“A preliminary report of the accident is expected in four to six weeks,” Graham said. “However, a full investigation lasts 12 to 18 months before a final report is released.”
The two vintage planes — a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a single-pilot Bell P-63 Kingcobra — collided at the Wings Over Dallas air show, leaving stunned spectators in disbelief as the wreckage burst into flames.
Two victims were identified by authorities as Len Root, 66 (long-time pilot) and Terry Barker,67 (former American Airlines pilot) who both served on the Keller city council. the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Sunday.
Graham claimed that the aircraft were both owned by American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum.
He explained that NTSB investigators face a challenge because the planes are not equipped with common flight recorders such as a “black box.”
Graham stated that the investigation would be systematic and methodical, with staffers conducting examinations. “airworthiness, operations, air traffic control and aircraft performance.”
He said that police had secured the debris from the accident and handed it over to the agency. They will use the debris to try and reconstruct the tragedy and determine the cause.
“We are coordinating the wreckage to be removed to a secure location to lay out both aircraft and examine the airframe and engines as part of the NTSB standard investigative process,” He said.
Graham indicated that the NTSB was also trying to get as much footage from spectators of the midair tragedy in order to reconstruct the collision.
He encouraged anyone with footage to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.