Air Force Thunderbird F-16 crashes after practice for Ohio air show

UPI, By Stephen Carlson and Doug G. Ware   |   June 24, 2017

June 23 (UPI) — A U.S. Air Force pilot and tactical maintenance worker were hospitalized Friday after a fighter jet crashed at an airport in central Ohio, military officials said.

The plane, part of the USAF Thunderbird Air Demonstration Squadron, flipped over on the runway while landing at Dayton International Airport at about 12:20 p.m. Friday, the Air Force said in a statement.

Two people on board were hospitalized with injuries and are in good condition, the Thunderbirds said via Twitter.

“More details will be released following an aircraft and safety investigation boards. Our performance at Dayton Air Show is to be determined,” one tweet said.

The F-16 Thunderbirds were participating in a familiarization and training exercise in preparation for the Dayton Air Show this weekend. The weather was rainy, with high winds and low visibility on the ground.

“It was raining, and I was taking pictures of some airplanes,” Ricardo von Puttkammer, a correspondent for Aviation Photojournal who witnessed the plane flip, told WHIO TV-7. “Right away the fire department personnel was running toward the accident.”

Created in 1953, the Thunderbirds are one of the world’s premier aerial demonstration teams. They use the F-16 Fighting Falcon to perform aerial acrobatics and formation flying at air shows across the world. The squadron is based at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

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