All six people who died in Saturday's midair collision of two vintage aircraft at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow have been identified.
Terry Barker, Craig Hutain, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, Leonard Root and Curt Rowe were all members of the Commemorative Air Force, a Texas nonprofit group “dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft,” which hosts the air show, according to its website.
"We are heartbroken to announce that the following members of the Commemorative Air Force went west on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at the Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow while performing," the group said in a statement.
"Please join us in mourning the loss of our good friends and fellow airmen.”
The crash occurred around 1:20 p.m. Saturday when the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra collided at Dallas Executive Airport, according to information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Commemorative Air Force CEO and President Hank Coates said there is a very strict process of training for volunteers, who are vetted very carefully and are mostly retired pilots.
"These are very well-trained folks that have been doing it for a while," he said at a news conference Saturday.
The Commemorative Air Force did not specify which men were on board the Flying Fortress and which were on the Kingcobra.
Maj. Curtis J. Rowe served for more than 30 years on the Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and "volunteered as a crew member on a vintage Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress for the Commemorative Air Force where he shared his passion for flying," the service said in a statement.
"Curt touched the lives of thousands of his fellow Civil Air Patrol members, especially when flying cadets during hundreds of orientation flights over the course of his service," said Peter K. Bowden, the commander of the Ohio Wing.
During his time with the Civil Air Patrol, Rowe "served in positions ranging from Safety Officer to Operations Officer at the squadron and wing levels, with his most current position being Ohio Wing Maintenance Officer."
Rowe, 64, of Hillard, Ohio, loved flying and teaching others about it, according to his family, NBC affiliate WCMH of Columbus, Ohio, reported.“There’s not very many like him around,” Tom Rowe, his cousin, told the station. “He loved his family. He had great pride in his country and in serving his country.”
Terry Barker was an Army veteran and a former City Council member in Keller, Texas, Mayor Armin Mizani said.
"Terry Barker was beloved by many," he wrote on Facebook along with pictures of Barker. "He was a friend and someone whose guidance I often sought. Even after retiring from serving on the City Council and flying for American Airlines, his love for community was unmistakable."
The Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots union, identified Barker as one of the crew members on the B-17 Flying Fortress.
Barker served on the City Council from 1999 to 2003 and was an experienced pilot who recently retired, according to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
“He was a pilot for American Airlines. He was a captain. He just recently retired in 2020. But he was with American Airlines for 36 years,” Mizani told the station.
Barker leaves behind his wife, two sons and a new grandchild, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
"Yesterday he was flying to honor the greatest generation. Today, the Field of Honor in front of Keller Town Hall will remain standing an additional week in his honor," Mizani said.
An Oregon native who loved flying, Leonard Root, 66, got his pilot’s license when he was just 16 years old and went on to get his aviation degree from Hesston College in Kansas, his daughter Rebekah Lowery told NBC News.
"Over the years he worked his way up by becoming a flight instructor so he could get flight hours," she said. "He would move up to bigger and bigger planes as he built his hours up, getting flying certificates and licenses in order to fly larger aircraft."
At 30, he started working with American Airlines at its Dallas hub, first as a flight engineer, then as a co-pilot, until he became a captain.
The American Airlines pilots union identified Root as one of the crew members on the B-17 Flying Fortress.
In a Facebook post, Lowery said the party for her father's retirement from the airline was a year ago Sunday.
“He lived for flying, for going fast,” she wrote. “He was the most friendly, talkative, charming guy. He never knew a stranger.”
Lowery said she and her sisters grew up with the B-17 and cheered on their dad during his shows.
“We are so proud. He loved that plane,” she wrote. “He is leaving behind a huge legacy. We are not ready to say goodbye. Dad, we love you with all our hearts. We are shattered.”
Larisa Lichte, another of Root’s daughters, said her 10-year-old daughter had a strong bond with her pilot grandfather.
“She wants to be a pilot,” she said.
Root joined the Commemorative Air Force and flew the B-17 plane for about 30 years, Lowery said.
Craig Hutain was identified as the pilot of the Bell P-63 Kingcobra.
He started flying at 10 years old, according to his bio on the Tora Tora Tora Airshows website.
He became a flight instructor in college and graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Most recently, Hutain was a Houston-based captain for United Airlines, where he had worked for 37 years, according to the airline.
"We are saddened to report the loss of our colleague, Captain Craig Hutain, in the airshow accident in Dallas," said Bryan Quigley, senior vice president of flight operations for United Airlines. "He previously served as a line check pilot who trained others on the Boeing 737. Our deepest condolences are with Craig’s family and the families of all of those lost in this accident."
Hutain, who started flying with the Commemorative Air Force in 2009, had over 34,500 hours of flight time in over 100 types of aircraft.
He was also the executive officer for Tora Tora Tora, an air show that aims to educate people about "how the course of U.S. history was changed on December 7th, 1941," at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
"Heartbroken is not a strong enough word," the air show said in a statement on Instagram. "Please join us in mourning the loss of our good friends and fellow airmen."
He leaves behind his wife, two children and four grandchildren, according to the bio.