The devastating mid-air collision at the Wings Over Dallas Air Show in Texas last year, which resulted in the deaths of six men, including retired pilot Len Root, has led to a legal battle. Angela Norris Root, Len’s grieving wife, along with their daughters, are taking legal action against the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), the event’s organizing body.
Len Root, a former American Airlines pilot who earned his flying stripes at the tender age of 16, was aboard a B-17 bomber when it tragically collided with a P-63 fighter plane. The impact led to a horrifying inferno in the sky, witnessed by countless onlookers, including Mrs. Root herself. Both aircraft plummeted to the ground, leaving no survivors.
Kevin Koudelka, representing the Root family, remarked, “Witnessing such a tragedy firsthand has taken a significant toll on Mrs. Root.” He further emphasized the need for the lawsuit, stating, “We are determined to uncover the truth behind this tragedy, ascertain responsibility, and ensure those at fault are held accountable.”
The lawsuit alleges negligence, specifically pointing fingers at the air boss hired by the CAF – who Koudelka likens to the “quarterback of the event” – and the plane owners. Intriguingly, audio evidence from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) seems to capture the air boss greenlighting the pilots mere moments before the catastrophe.
In response to the suit, CAF told Fox News, “We acknowledge the lawsuit filed against us. Our legal team is reviewing the matter, and we will offer an official response once the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concludes its investigation.” Preliminary findings from the NTSB investigation suggest the planes should never have been in such close proximity.
The other victims of this calamitous event were identified as Terry Baker, Curt Rowe, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, and Craig Hutain. Shocking footage circulating on social media platforms captured the chilling moment when the fighter jet appeared to smash into the bomber, resulting in both descending rapidly in a blazing wreckage.
While both FAA and NTSB are rigorously investigating the exact cause, a conclusive report might still be some months away. Interestingly, an early report didn’t pinpoint a cause but did highlight a lack of altitude advice for pilots before the show.
Mr. Koudelka concluded, “This lawsuit isn’t just about seeking justice, but also about uncovering the truth. We firmly believe that Mr. Root wasn’t at fault.”