Thunderbird F-16 Crashes During Training Exercise

An F-16 Fighting Falcon that was a part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team crashed yesterday. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz

An F-16 Fighting Falcon that was part of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds team crashed yesterday over the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas, killing Slot Pilot Thunderbird 4, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno. A statement from the U.S. Air Force said the accident happened during a routine aerial demonstration training flight.

The accident has caused the Thunderbirds to cancel their participation in The March Field Air and Space Expo at the March Air Reserve Base, which is slated for this weekend. The statement also said the impact on the remaining show season for the Thunderbirds is unknown.

The F-16 took off from Nellis Air Force Base. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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