by Richard Mallory Allnutt (Editor)
Words are usually my strongest ally, but I am unsure where or even how to begin… I have written and re-written these opening lines a dozen times or more. We rarely cover accidents here, but this weekend’s collision was too profound to bypass. Six precious lives lost in one brief coming together in the skies over Dallas…
While some may callously choose to focus on the destruction of two historic aircraft, we must remember that airframes are replaceable – it is the human element of this tragedy which far outstrips any other concern. Last night, the Commemorative Air Force released the names of those we lost (see above). The air show community is a small and close knit group. Indeed all of us here knew or knew of most of those involved in Saturday’s calamity, and several of them have contributed to stories we published over the past decade. The heartache we feel for their loved ones and close friends, not to mention their greater family within the CAF, is almost impossible to fully express, but the image below perhaps best encapsulates the poignancy of our mood…
For those wishing to help the families of those who perished, the CAF published the following…
“The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Foundation, in association with the CAF, is accepting donations for the families of those involved in the accident. To donate, please go to https://airshowfoundation.org/
We hope that many of our readers will do their best to help where they can.
Vintage Aviation News will stand down for the next few days to grieve and regroup. Please take care everyone…
Addendum: We have received permission to repost personal reflections about some of the aircrew involved in the tragedy by those who knew them well. We will add to this list, but encourage any readers who also have personal connections to add their own comments below.
- Larry Combs
“As Crew Chief of CAF Airbase Georgia’s P-51 Mustang (Red Nose), I flew with Craig to many air show events. The smiles on our faces were not staged but living our dream.
He would say something like “how lucky are we that we get to fly a 1945 vintage Warbird”. He was a ton of fun to be around. He never met a stranger and treated everyone like they were his next best friend.
He loved his beautiful wife Lori and always made her his priority to call when we landed at our destination. The aviation community has lost one of its finest.
God be with you my friend and know that we are praying for Lori and your family during this time of sorrow.”
- Cheri Smith Prochaska
“Kevin Michels was larger than life.
He lived and loved BIG.
One of the first of Darrell’s longtime friends that I met when we were dating, Kevin remained a constant throughout our lives no matter where we or he lived. We met up in all the places… Newport Beach, Boise, Austin, Nashville, College Station.
RVing through Denver this Summer we missed a meet up though and that is extra hard now, knowing that we could have had one last hug and heard that laugh one more time.
Kevin lived an epic life and died doing what he loved – flying in the CAF Gulf Coast Wing’s B-17 Texas Raiders Warbird at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow (Official).
I’m equal parts gutted to lose such a bright light and inspired to live life as full and bright as he did!”
- Kara Lynn
“Curt was my favorite Flight Engineer, we flew On the B-17 together for 12 years. He lived in Ohio so I always looked forward to flying with him in the Fall.
I flew Sat morning with him in Tora & he was so happy. He loved Texas Raiders more than anyone. He was an amazing FE. May sound silly but I’ll miss giving him a hard time about how he loved bland food.
He was a picky eater! Lol. I loved that man like family.
I know he’s in heaven watching over us. Godspeed Curt I will miss you always”