Thunderbirds’ F-16D Flips on the Ground in Ohio, Passengers Safe

An Air Force Thunderbirds' F-16D crashed in Dayton, Ohio, on June 23, 2017. The pilot and second passenger, a members if the Thunderbirds' enlisted team, were taken to the hospital and listed in "good condition." Photo by Ty Greenlees, Dayton Daily News

An Air Force Thunderbirds’ pilot and a tactical aircraft maintainer, who was a member of the Thunderbirds’ enlisted team, are in “good condition” after the F-16D they were flying in flipped after landing in Dayton, Ohio, during high winds early Friday afternoon.

One of the team’s two F-16Ds was conducting a single-ship familiarization flight prior to the Vectren Dayton Air Show when a “mishap” occurred at 12:20 p.m., the Thunderbirds said in a statement on Twitter.

The jet was taxiing after landing when reportedly a gust of wind flipped the F-16 on its top, Dayton Daily News reported.

“The plane sustained damage and the pilot and his passenger, a tactical aircraft maintainer, were taken to a local hospital where they are receiving care and [are] currently in good condition,” according to an Air Force statement.

The last time a Thunderbirds aircraft crashed was in June 2016 following a flyby of the Air Force Academy graduation. Maj. Alex Turner, the pilot, was able to safely eject following that crash and the aircraft landed remarkably intact near Colorado Springs, Colo. A total of 23 airmen have died during the team’s 64 year history.

It’s not clear if the Thunderbirds will still perform at the air show. “Our first priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds Commander/Leader, in the release.

The incident is under investigation.

For more about the Thunderbirds read our story from the July 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.