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Air traffic control recording of Dallas air show collision that claimed six lives released by FAA

The recording contains air show instructions leading up to the mid-air collision and the panic from the show's air boss realizing two planes had gone down.

DALLAS, Texas — The Federal Aviation Administration released a 36-minute audio clip on Thursday containing air traffic control instructions leading up to the deadly "Wings Over Dallas" mid-air crash that claimed the lives of six and the panic that followed inside the tower when two World War II-era planes went down. 

In the recording, you can hear the show's air boss or director organizing multiple aircraft and giving instructions as the show plays out. 

An air boss is responsible for guiding pilots safely through the show, giving them instructions about runways, taxiways and the demonstration area near spectators. 

Just before the Nov. 12 mid-air crash, which included a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, the air boss tells the fighter formation, which included the P-63, to fly along the 500-foot spectator line. 

He then instructs the bomber formation, which included the B-17, to fly along the 1000-foot spectator line. 

No altitude advice is given before those instructions, all echoing what the NTSB has already released in its preliminary report. 

“Nice job fighters. You’re coming through first, that will work out. B-17 and all the bombers on the 1,000-foot line," the air boss is heard saying. 

The air boss can then be heard asking someone in the B-17 formation if they can see the fighters. 

"B-17 you got the fighters in front of you off your left?" the air boss is heard saying. 

"Yes," someone on the transmission is heard saying. 

“Fighters will be a big pull up and to the right," the air boss then says. 

That's the last communication heard before the air boss acknowledges something is wrong. 

At 1:21 p.m. the P-63 and B-17 collide, killing Terry Barker, Craig Hutain, Kevin Michels, Dan Ragan, Leonard Root and Curt Rowe.  

The air boss says "knock it off" multiple times before requesting emergency trucks. 

"Knock it off" is a term used to direct all aircraft to cease maneuvering when the safety of flight is a factor.

"Knock it off! Knock it off! Roll the trucks! Roll the trucks! Roll the trucks! Knock it off! Roll the trucks!" the air boss frantically yells. 

He then diverts planes away from the crash. 

"Thank you very much. B-24, right turn! B-24, right turn and follow! Fighters you go right there--stay right where you are. Left turn, fighters! Left turn! Knock it off! Roll the trucks! Roll the trucks! Let's go! Roll the trucks!" he's heard saying. 

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. A full report may not be done until 2024. 

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