Thunderbirds F-16 Flips On Landing (Updated and Corrected)
Wind and rain were possible factors in the overturning of the Air Force's Thunderbird two-seater at Dayton International Airport on Friday. The Air Force now says the aircraft departed the runway and flipped over on the grass but does not offer an explanation. Earlier reports suggested a gust of wind was to blame.. “Oftentimes if you speculate you will miss what the actual root cause is,” Thunderbirds Commander Col. Jason Heard told a news conference. “We land in rain all the time. His approach and landing met all of those legal requirements,” Heard said. The pilot, Capt. Kenneth Gonsalves, and Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, a maintenance tech, suffered minor injuries. Earlier reports had suggested the backseater was a local media representative.
The incident resulted in the cancellation of the Thunderbirds' Saturday performance at the Dayton Airshow and the Sunday show is tentative. The aircraft involved is not a show plane and Gonsalves is the narrator and not one of the show pilots. The team had canceled a scheduled practice because of the weather and it's not clear why Gonsalves and Cordova went flying. Weather at the time of the incident was reported as winds light with visibility at 3/4 of a mile and rain, but thunderstorms were reported in the area as a cold front collides with the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy.