Dallas air show crash: NTSB investigation could take 18 months to complete

The NTSB is investigating the midair collision between two World War II planes at the Wings Over Dallas Air Show at Dallas Executive Airport on Saturday.

Six people were killed when a Bell P-63 Kingcobra crashed into a B-17 Flying Fortress during the show, which was being viewed by 4,000 to 6,000 spectators.

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The NTSB arrived to investigate the crash late Saturday.

During an update on Monday at Dallas Executive Airpor,  the NTSB said it has completed its recovery of the P-63.

Rain delayed the recovery of the B-17, the process will continue tomorrow. The NTSB says an electronic flight display from the B-17 and GPS from the P-63 were recovered during the process.

The NTSB recovered an electronic flight display from the B-17 and a GPS navigation unit from the, bu both are damaged.

"They’re both being sent to the NTSB’s recorder lab in Washington, D.C. to determine whether data and relevant information can be recovered from both units," Graham said.

Data might provide altitude and speeds of the aircrafts. It’s also examining the air show’s own common frequency recordings. It’s unclear if there were warning signs acknowledged prior to the crash.

"Hundreds of air shows go on in the United States each year that don’t have accidents," Graham said.

The equipment could help give investigators an idea of what was happening with the planes during the minutes and second prior to the collision.

The NTSB says neither plane was equipped with "black boxes" that would have more detailed flight information.

A preliminary report on the crash to be finished in four to six weeks.

The NTSB released photos of Investigator-in-Charge Jason Aguilera and member Michael Graham at the accident scene.

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Investigators are collecting remnants of the planes while trying to figure out what went wrong.

"This is the beginning of a long process. We will not jump to any conclusions," said Graham in a news conference over the weekend.

The NTSB said it does not know if the two planes had approval to fly at a similar height.

"One of the things we would probably, most likely, be trying to determine is why those aircraft were at co-altitude in the same airspace at the same time," Graham added.

NTSB crews are removing wreckage from the airfield to analyze it at a different location.

The Commemorative Air Force says it’s not engaging in interviews during the investigation. 

FOX 4 asked the NTSB what type of communication was required of the pilots, crew and others coordinating the air show.

"We will look at what’s required and what isn’t as far as communication goes, and that’ll be part of the analysis process," Graham said.

The NTSB held a press briefing Sunday and Monday but says Monday’s briefing is the last one on scene.

It plans to release its preliminary findings in four to six weeks. Full investigation could take 12-18 months.