Details remain scarce but a USAF Thunderbirds F-16 has been involved with a mishap while on location in Dayton, Ohio. The aircraft involved was supposedly one of the team's Block 52 F-16Ds which are used for media flights, camera ships, and as spares/stand-ins for the team's six-ship demonstration.
Supposedly the aircraft had landed and a gust of wind affected it in some way, leaving it turned over off the airport's movement areas. The weather was supposedly very poor at the time of the incident with local CBS affiliate WHIO stating there was "heavy rain in the area at that time. Rainfall rates in the vicinity exceeding two inches per hour." Strong winds were also said to be present at the time of the crash.
There seems to have been a pilot and someone else onboard at the time of the crash, and reports are conflicting at this time as to their condition and whether or not they are trapped inside the aircraft or not. There is no reports of any deaths at this time thankfully.
The crash comes just over a year after another Thunderbird F-16C crashed just before landing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and less than two days after another F-16 crashed during takeoff from Ellington Field in Texas. Both incidents saw the pilot safely eject, and the case of the Ellington Field incident, the Block 52 F-16C remained almost totally intact sitting off the runway. The jet was fully armed at the time for the air sovereignty mission and the airport had to be evacuated due to concerns over the weaponry. On Tuesday there wasalso the crashof yet another USAF asset, this one being a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone that was on its way from Edwards AFB to Beale AFB.
UPDATE: 11am PST- As you can see in this screencap from WHIO's livestream, the jet is totally upside down and laying on its spine.
Reports are that at least one of the crew is unpinned and heading to the hospital, possibly the second as well. Waiting for confirmation, fingers crossed.
UPDATE: 11:30am PST- They are cutting away the canopy to get the pilot out according to an on-site source. At this time it seems as if they are in fair condition and working with responders to exit the stricken jet.
UPDATE: 11:43am PST- Dayton Daily News has reported that the second occupant has been removed from the F-16. This is great news. Awaiting updates on their conditions.
Thunderbirds say this was a familiarization flight, so no guests onboard.
Here is a close up of the scene. Looks like the aircraft flipped over relatively cleanly, the engine appears to not have ingested any major debris and the wing nor the tail stopped it from going fully upside down.
Update: 3:30pm PST-
We will keep this page updated as soon as we get more information.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com