The United States Air Force Thunderbirds were conducting a single-ship familiarization flight on Friday June 23, 2017. Upon landing there was a mishap at the Dayton International Airport with an F-16D Fighting Falcon at approximately 12:20 p.m.
The plane sustained damage and Capt. Erik Gonsalves, Thunderbird #8 Advance Pilot and Narrator, and his passenger, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, a tactical aircraft maintainer, were taken to a local hospital where they are receiving care and currently in good condition. Cordova has been released from the hospital.
More details will be released following an aircraft and safety investigation board.
“Our first priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds Commander/Leader. “Both teammates were extremely brave during the extraction and we’d like to thank Wright-Patterson Crash and Recovery, Dayton International Fire Rescue, local police, medical personnel and team members on scene for their incredible recovery efforts.”
Our performance for tomorrow has been canceled and Sunday’s performance will be determined. Keep following our social media pages for updates.
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Thunderbirds Press Conference: Dayton, OH