Thunderbirds crash at Colorado Springs Jun 3, 2016 9:44:12 GMT 12
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Jun 3, 2016 9:44:12 GMT 12
from The Washington Post....
F-16 crashes just minutes after flying
over Air Force Academy graduation
By THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF | 4:51PM EDT - Thursday, June 02, 2016
Thunderbirds solo pilots perform during a show on May 28th at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.
— Photograph: Staff Sergeant Jason Couillard/U.S. Air Force.
AN Air Force F-16 crashed on Thursday minutes after flying in formation over the Air Force Academy's graduation in Colorado Springs, where President Obama was in attendance. The pilot ejected safely.
The single-seat fighter aircraft was a part of the Air Force's demonstration squadron, the Thunderbirds, and crashed because of engine failure, according to The Denver Post. The pilot who had ejected even met briefly with Obama before the president left Colorado in Air Force One from Peterson Air Force base.
The president thanked the pilot for his service, according to a White House press pool report.
First responders were sent to the scene of the crash, according to Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman, a public affairs officer with Peterson Air Force Base. Pictures online show the aircraft mostly intact laying upright in a field.
The Thunderbirds group includes some the best pilots in the Air Force and is on par with the U.S. Navy's demonstration team, the Blue Angels.
Late Wednesday, local news reports out of Smyrna, Tennessee, indicated that a Blue Angel F/A-18 had crashed before a Saturday airshow. It was unclear whether the pilot had ejected safely.
• Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a staff writer at The Washington Post and a former Marine infantryman.