Family of Pilot Killed in Texas Air Show Files Lawsuit

By Jerry McConway, updated on September 4, 2023

Last year, a local air show in Fort Worth turned deadly.

The Wings Over Dallas Air Show turned tragic when two planes collided in mid-air.

In all, six people died, and the family of one of the dead men, Len Root, is now suing the organizers of the show.

Talking Points…

  • What happened
  • Who is to blame
  • What the attorneys are saying
  • My Two Cents…

What Happened?

Root was inside a B-17 bomber with four other crew members. He had had his pilot's license since he was a teenager as well as being a retired American Airlines pilot.

As the B-17 was doing its run, a P-63 fighter plane was doing a maneuver and collided with the B-17 bomber, sending both aircraft crashing to the earth in a fiery ball.

In addition to Root, Terry Baker, Curt Rowe, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, and Craig Hutain were all killed in the crash.

Many of the family members of those who died were present at the show, including Root's wife.

Who Is to Blame?

Right now, the fingers are being pointed at the Air Boss of the show, who is basically the quarterback of the event.

He is apparently an employee of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), the organizers of the entire show.

Along with CAF, the planes' owners are also named in the suit.

What the Attorneys are Saying

Attorney Kevin Koudelka is representing Root's family in this matter.

He stated:

"Mrs. Root watched it happen, and she is not doing very well. We need the lawsuit to get into what happened and who is responsible for that. Second part of that is who is responsible? What happened? Who is wrong? And why did this happen? And hold them accountable."

Koudelka added:

"Our investigation thus far and the preliminary report from the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] summed up is the planes shouldn’t have been near each other."

My Two Cents…

These air shows are fan favorites, but just how safe are they?

I can remember several years back when a mock dogfight went wrong and the planes collided. It seems as though we hear about crashes like this a few times a year.

That being the case, they are clearly not as safe as they are made out to be.

The people flying these planes are not as well-trained as, say, the pilots of the Blue Angels. Many of them are retired pilots, so their reaction time is clearly going to be a bit slower.

When they are doing these maneuvers, even a half-second could mean the difference between life and death and as you saw in that video, the results are horrific.

Pilots lose their lives, family members are left grieving, and let's not forget the number of children who attend these shows who have to now live with seeing something like this take place right before their very eyes. It will scar them for life.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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