On April 5, the newspaper of the US Armed Forces “Stars and Stripes” reported that a Thunderbirds pilot had died on April 4 afer his jet had crashed during the flight in the fighter jet over the Nevada military range.
The Air Force officials wrote:
“Air Force Thunderbirds pilot was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range today at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight. The identity of the pilot is being withheld for 24-hours pending next of kin notification. An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap”.
The training was aimed to prepare for the Thunderbirds flight demonstration show at March Air Reserve Base in California. Following the pilot’s death, the Thunderbirds’s appearance at the show was canceled.
It was the third major crash by a Thunderbird pilot. On June 23, 2017, the Thunderbirds didn’t appear at the air show after one jet crash during training before two-day Dayton Air Show in Ohio. Two pilots were injured and the $29 million aircraft was destroyed.
On June 2, 2016 a Thunderbirds pilot crashed following a flyover of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony. The plane was damaged, but the pilot avoided major injuries.
Thunderbirds pilots typically serve two-year tours with the elite aviation squadron and routinely fly their jets performing highly difficult and dangerous stunts.
The April 5 crash was the third one in less than two days.
On April 3, four marines were killed, when the CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter crashed in southern California near the Mexican border. Marine officials said it was too early to determine what caused the crash.
Earlier on the same day, a Marine AV-8B Harrier attack jet crashed just after take off from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport. There were no reports of pilot’s injuries or the airport’s damage.
Military officials are investigating all three crashes.