USAF Thunderbirds Will Resume 2016 Season At Ocean City

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 3

USAF Thunderbirds

The USAF Thunderbirds will resume their 2016 airshow season this coming weekend (June 18-19) in Ocean City, MD. The team had been on a stand down after the crash of Thunderbird #6 on June 2nd. Pilot Maj. Alex Turner was able to safely eject during the incident. He has not flown with the team yet but is expected to return this week. The rest of the team has resumed practicing at their home of Nellis AFB.

Meanwhile, the US Navy Blue Angels remain on a stand down following the fatal crash of their #6 pilot, Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, on the same day. They have not announced their plans for eventually resuming their show schedule but it is understandable that they would take more time off before returning. The team is expected to resume practicing in Pensacola this week.

Here is the full statement from the Thunderbirds:

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are excited to announce the return to the 2016 demonstration schedule, beginning this weekend in Ocean City, MD.

The Thunderbirds temporarily stood down for two weekends following an aircraft mishap on June 2nd after performing the 2016 U.S. Air Force Academy graduation flyover in Colorado Springs, Colo. During the stand-down, the Team supported the safety investigation to collect details of the mishap.

The Team looks forward to Thunderbird #6, Major Alex Turner, returning to fly early this week.

“His timeline to return to the demonstration will be made as Major Turner gets back into the air. We want to ensure that Alex is physically and mentally ready to go,” said Lt. Col. Chris Hammond, Thunderbird #1, Commander/Leader.

“I have 100% confidence in our Team and our training to go out and perform a safe and exciting demonstration,” said Lt. Col. Hammond. “The Thunderbirds are comprised of 130 incredible professionals who believe in the importance of our mission to represent the world’s greatest Air Force. The team’s resiliency will be on display at the Ocean City airshow; we look forward to performing another safe, precise and exciting demonstration.”

Upon arrival to Ocean City, Lt. Col. Hammond will speak to media outlets during planeside interviews.

3 Responses

  1. JOE DUPONT

    Dear Editor,
    On January 28, 1986, then President Ronald W. Reagan addressed the nation
    about the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion. It was suppose to be a state
    of the union speech. That was the problem. As much as I loved Ronald
    Reagan someone in his administration “Caused” the Shuttle disaster by
    trying to get it off so he could brag about having Christa McAuliffe , a
    teacher in orbit. After all that might translated into some Democrat
    votes. Despite freezing conditions, and crying technicians ,who knew the
    launch meant certain death to those on board,NASA still launched it in a
    carnival atmosphere.

    Now 30 years latter, a late President Obama droned on for 20 minutes was giving speech at the Air Force Academy. Because of the delays and not wanting to embarrass President Obama, one of the Thunderbird pilot had to eject from his jet because he ran out of fuel. which explains why his jet did not burn on impact! Fuel exhaustion was caused by too
    much attention to be on time to keep our obsessively self centered
    president from being annoyed by delay. Undo pressure was on those
    pilots to be punctual over Obama at the end of his long delayed speech. The loss of thie F-16 and ruined carreers in the Air Force was caused by the same mentality which killed the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle 30 year prior .

    Supporting Info and original letter to the editor.

    EXCLUSIVE

    AIR FORCE THUNDERBIRD PILOT AND FLIGHT
    COMMANDER “SCAPEGOATED” AT COLORADO
    SPRINGS – MAJ ALEX TURNER HAD BEEN PRAISED
    FOR STEERING HIS CRIPPLED F-16 AWAY FROM
    POPULATED AREAS BEFORE IT CRASHED ON
    JUNE 2ND – INVESTIGATION SHOWS AIRCRAFT
    RAN OUT OF FUEL – NOT BECAUSE OF NEGLECT
    ON PART OF PILOT, BUT BECAUSE PRESIDENT
    BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA DRONED ON LONG TIME
    GIVING GRADUATION SPEECH AT THE AFA
    THUNDERBIRD COMMANDER (LT COL CHRIS
    HAMMOND) ALSO FIRED – CAREER DESTROYED

    © 2016 MilitaryCorruption.com

    MAJ ALEX TURNERThe Air Force top brass were embarrassed, so someone had to be the scapegoat.

    And, if multiple reports coming in to our newsroom Sunday night are correct, top Thunderbirds pilot Maj. Alex Turner and his flight commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Hammond, have been fired and their careers ruined.

    Neither officer deserve such a result, but Pentagon generals don’t like egg on their face, and that’s just what they got after a Thunderbirds F-16 crashed moments after performing a low-level flyover of Barack Hussein Obama, when the loquacious “commander-in-chief” finally finished his remarks June 2nd to the Air Force Academy’s graduating class.

    It wasn’t the precision flying team’s fault one of the aircraft ran out of fuel. If Obama had kept to his schedule, and Maj. Turner had a little more luck, he would’ve glided in for a safe landing, utilizing the last fumes in his empty fuel tank.

    Here’s what the USAF public affairs folks don’t want you to know.

    GENERALS PIN THE BLAME ON PILOTS

    First of all, Obama was late showing up for the graduation, and the already aloft T-Birds had to go into a gas-guzzling holding pattern, waiting for their part of the ceremony to take place. This dangerously depleted fuel and put all six pilots – to say nothing of the throngs on the ground – in harm’s way.

    The POTUS droned on and on, and some 20 minutes before the Thunderbirds were to go into their aerial act, Maj. Turner informed his flight leader his jet was “very low” on gas. Hammond told the pilot to not use his after-burner for the flyby.

    All the F-16s safely made the maneuver, but Turner’s craft flamed out seconds before he could land. After guiding his plane away from homes and populated areas of Colorado Springs, the major safely bailed out. The jet came to a rest in a grassy field. Due to lack of fuel, there was no fire.

    Was Turner or the other pilots to blame? Of course not. They were right on time, but “on-his-own screwed-up schedule” Obama labored to finish his speech.

    Right after Turner completed his medical check-up, 57th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Jeannine Leavitt, had this to say: “Maj. Turner’s ability to steer his aircraft away from populated areas and safely eject, speaks to the quality of his training.”

    A couple days later, some generals higher up the food chain, decided to drop the hammer on Hammond and Turner. Gone was the effusive praise. Now someone was needed to blame the embarrassment on, and so the big shots cravenly chose two outstanding pilots as sacrificial lambs.

    Previous Letter I wrote.. right on target.. Where was the media? Where is the media.
    Dear Editor,
    On January 28, 1986, then President Ronald W. Reagan addressed the nation
    about the Columbia Space Shuttle explosion. It was suppose to be a state
    of the union speech. That was the problem. As much as i loved Ronald
    Reagan someone in his administration “Caused” the Shuttle disaster by
    trying to get it off so he could brag about having Christa McAuliffe , a
    teacher in orbit. After all that might translated into some Democrat
    votes. Despite freezing conditions, and crying technicians ,who knew the
    launch meant certain death to those on board,NASA still launched it in a
    carnival atmosphere.

    Now 30 years latter, while President was giving speech at the Air Force
    Academy a Thunderbird pilot ejected from a jet that flew over crowd
    ,watching that Obama speech. what was fascinating is that the un-piloted
    jet landed virtually intact and with NO FIRE! No fire , uncontrolled jet
    crashes are are very uncommon. The lack of a post crash fire might
    indicate fuel exhaustion. Fuel exhaustion could have been caused by too
    much attention to be on time to keep our obsessively self centered
    president from being annoyed by delay. Obviously this is only a theory.
    But it would be interesting to know just how much fuel each plane had on
    take off. All that I know is that every Thunderbird Jet is mechanically
    perfect and is air ready to be used in combat within a day or two and
    spontaneous engine failures without , say ingestion of some large bird,
    are very , very rare. I would like to see if undo pressure was on those
    pilots to be punctual over the speech, and if they took short cuts as we
    did with Ch

    • Joe, your lengthy wall of text is decidedly misinformed and blatantly incorrect. Both pilots, #1 and #6, continue to fly with the team. Neither has been punished or fired.

      While there may (and I emphasize MAY) be some truth to the fuel status of the aircraft, there are simply not enough facts out there to know the full story. For every person who says the aircraft ran out of fuel, there is a person who says gallons of it was pumped out of the wreckage. The massive falsehoods in your copy and paste hit job tarnish any credibility you might have had in a more civil discussion of the incident.

  2. Robert Terbet

    Obviously there were outside factors causing the F-16 to run out of fuel. Most logical explanation was a directive from someone to delay as long as possible. Lt. Col. Hammond delayed as long as possible. There are some who believe the Secret Service denied landing conforming to a policy regarding AF One departing. He countermanded that order and landed the other 5 aircraft. The solos tend to use more afterburner which results in a lower fuel state.

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