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.