Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)
Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)

USAF Report: Wet Runway Contributed To Thunderbird F-16 Crash In Dayton

posted in: Jet Teams | 0
USAF Thunderbird #8 Crash in Dayton, OH
Photo via AP: Dayton Daily News

US Air Force officials stated that “excess speed and insufficient stopping distance” on a soaked runway resulted in the crash of a two seat F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the USAF Thunderbirds in Dayton, Ohio this past June.

Capt. Erik “Speedy” Gonsalves, Thunderbird #8, was in command of the jet at the time of the incident. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, a maintenance crew member, was also on board at the time. The two were on a “familiarization flight” over Dayton while the team was in town to perform at the 2017 Vectren Dayton Airshow.

Upon landing, the jet slid off the runway and into the grass, causing the aircraft to flip.

The report mentions that Gonsalves missed his first landing approach and that water had restricted the view of his head-up display or HUD. This forced him to rely solely on cockpit instruments. On the second approach, the report claims that Gonsalves focused more on the runway than his airspeed, contributing to the crash. The Thunderbird F-16 touched down with only 6,130 feet of runway left. Seven to eight thousand feet of runway is required to land safely on wet pavement. The aircraft exited the runway and came to rest upside down in the grass nearby. It was destroyed in the incident.

An audio recording between Air Traffic Control and Thunderbird 8, obtained by the Dayton Daily News last month, revealed that the pilot was warned of “extreme precipitation” in the area and that ATC told him he was “flying at your own risk.”

In a statement, Air Combat Command spokeswoman Maj. Malinda Singleton said “Capt. Gonsalves is traveling with the team and narrating shows, but he is not medically cleared to fly at this time.”

Second African-American Thunderbird Honored In Alabama

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

Captain Joseph “Pete” Peterson

The USAF Thunderbirds honored one of their own during a dedication ceremony in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Captain Joseph N. “Pete” Peterson graduated from Tuskegee Public School in 1967. It was during his high school years when he developed an interest in flying and started taking lessons. After graduation, he attended Auburn University and participated in the school’s ROTC program. On August 27th, 1971, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. During his flying career, he served in Korea flying the F-4E Phantom.

In 1981, Capt. Peterson joined the Thunderbirds. As only the second African-American pilot to join the team, he broke barriers and continued to change the way things were done. Sadly, he was one of the four pilots killed in the infamous “Diamond Crash” in 1982.

A 10.5 mile portion of State Road 199 in Tuskegee, AL changed names to honor Peterson. The Captain Joseph “Pete” Peterson Memorial Boulevard honors the legacy that Peterson left. The road, near Morton Field Airport, connects two former Tuskegee airfields where black pilots trained in the days when training was segregated.

In a post on their Facebook page, the USAF Thunderbirds said that “as a Thunderbird, Pete exemplified everything we are as Airmen then and today — Bold, Courageous, and always #BreakingBarriers”

The six F-16 fighting falcons performed a flyover during the ceremony.

Thunderbirds Flyover State Route 199

Photos courtesy of the USAF Thunderbirds

CONFIRMED: A-10 Warthog Aerobatic Demonstrations Returning In 2018!

posted in: Airshows, Military | 0

A-10 Thunderbolt II

Get ready Warthog fans! The wait is over. A-10 Warthog single-ship demonstrations will return to the skies at airshows across the nation in 2018.

In a statement released by Air Combat Command this week, we learned an A-10 demonstration team will be based at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. They will perform at approximately 14 airshows during the 2018 show season. This follows a Twitter post by the current A-10 Heritage Flight team, which we reported on last week, that hinted at a coming announcement. There is no word on what will happen to the current East Coast A-10 Heritage Flight Team, based at Moody AFB in GA.

You may remember due to budget restrictions and sequestration, single ship demos were restricted after the 2011 season. Heritage Flights were performed in 2012 and 2017, but no aerobatic demonstrations were allowed.

Here is the text of the announcement shared by ICAS and ACC:

The United States Air Force A-10 demonstration team will once again display the capabilities of the Thunderbolt II at approximately 14 shows throughout the 2018 air show season.

The A-10 demonstration team last flew in 2011. Since then, when it has participated in air shows, the A-10 has been either a static display aircraft or flown exclusively with the Air Force Heritage Flight program (in 2012 and 2017). In 2018, the Warthog will fly a full aerobatic demonstration and also perform in Heritage Flight demonstrations.

Specifically designed for close air support, the A-10’s combination of high and low speed maneuverability has made it a popular air show demonstration aircraft for many years. Beginning next year, the A-10 demo team – based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona – will be flown by Captain Cody Wilton.

Are you excited to see the return of Warthog demos? What shows do you think may get an A-10 demonstration in 2018?

Visit our forums to discuss this exciting news!

USAF Thunderbird F-16 Involved In Mishap At 2017 Dayton Air Show

posted in: Jet Teams | 0

USAF Thunderbirds 7 and 8 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2010

AirshowStuff has learned that an F-16 belonging to the USAF Thunderbirds has been involved in an incident at the Dayton Air Show in Dayton, OH.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred after the F-16 landed and was taxiing. The plane went off the runway and is currently in the grass. Law enforcement in the Dayton area are confirming than a Thunderbird jet is “on its top.”

This picture, posted by Dayton Daily News shows emergency crews responding to the incident scene.

The pilot of the jet at the time was Thunderbird #8, Capt. Erik “Speedy” Gonsalves. Tech Sargent Kenneth Cordova was the backseater. The mission was on a familiarization flight for Tech Sargent Cordova.

Both occupants of the plane were transported to the hospital. Thunderbird #1 says that injuries are non-life threatening. Tech Sargent Cordova had no visible injuries and is doing “just fine.” Thunderbird #8 had lacerations and injuries to his leg but is in stable to good condition and doing well.

There was heavy rain and wind in the area at the time of the incident. We’ll post more details on our forums as they become available.

The plane took off around 10:30 am this morning. Weather at the time met the criteria for the flight. He flew an instrument procedure approach to recover to the base. Mishap happened after landing on Runway 6L.

An accident safety board will investigate and the results will be made public at a later time. The Thunderbirds will NOT perform on Saturday at the Dayton Airshow. Sunday’s performance is to be determined.


Pilot Killed When Thai Gripen Crashes At Airshow For Children

posted in: Airshows, Military | 1
Royal Thai Air Force Gripen
Photo source: Saab.com

Royal Thai Air Force Squadron Leader Dilokrit Pattavee was killed today when his Saab JAS 35 Gripen impacted the ground following a flyby at Hat Yai in Songkhla Province, Thailand during a Children’s Day celebration. The aircraft appeared to lose control during a maneuver and flew into the ground away from spectators.

The Ministry of Defense is investigating the incident. Both Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-ocha and the RTAF Air Chief Marshal Jom Roongsawang have expressed condolences to the pilot’s family.

The airport was closed following the incident, diverting flights to Krabi airport with outbound flights delayed.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sqn. Ldr. Dilokrit Pattavee.

Details Of The F-4 Phantom Phinale – Final Flight And Retirement Ceremony Date Set

posted in: Military, Popular Posts | 14

QF-4 Phantom II - Aviation Nation Airshow 2016 - Nellis AFB

We’ve been talking about it nearly all year, and now the details of the F-4 Phantom II’s final flight in US military service are being made public. Holloman AFB, where the remaining F-4s of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (Det 1) reside, has announced that they will fly for the last time on December 21st, 2016. Luckily, the ceremony will be open to members of the public who wish to see this legendary fighter roar into the skies one last time.

Details from the announcement:
8 am – La Luz Gate** opens to attendees (attendees will be directed to designated parking areas and then bused to the event)
8 am – Community expo opens to include static aircraft such as the QF-4 and QF-16
10 am – F-4 Phantom II takeoff and final flight (tentative)
11:30 am-12 pm – F-4 Phantom II retirement ceremony
1 pm – Event conclusion

**The La Luz gate is the only gate open for non-DOD cardholders and public access.

We are working on getting details about the actual flying, but previous discussions of the event have included talk of a four-ship formation as well as supersonic passes. It seems likely that other units at the base will be conducting flight operations during the open house, so there may be some bonus action to see.

It’s important to note that attendees must RSVP with the 49th Wing Public Affairs office by calling 575-572-7381 or by emailing 49wg.paoffice@us.af.mil. RSVPs may be accepted through their Facebook page as well. Also, large bags and containers will be prohibited due to security concerns. No word yet on what constitutes a ‘large’ bag, but plan accordingly.

Further updates will be posted to the event Facebook page.

See also:
Mighty F-4 Phantoms To Roar Into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016
Just FIVE Public Appearances Remain For USAF F-4 Phantoms, Including Final Flight Event In December
QF-4 Phantoms To Perform Flyover At Sunday’s NASCAR Race in Texas
Phantom Finale: The Last Remaining USAF F-4 Pilot On The End Of A Legend

Just FIVE Public Appearances Remain For USAF F-4 Phantoms, Including Final Flight Event In December

posted in: Airshows, Military, Popular Posts | 60
USAF F-4 Phantom Departure
USAF F-4 Phantoms departed EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the last time this July.

Update: 9/20/16 – Although the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow asked to be removed from this post last week, we have reconfirmed that two Phantoms plan to attend the show and have re-added it to the schedule.

We have already reported that 2016 is the final year for USAF-operated F-4 Phantoms, but we are happy to report that they will go out with a public celebration of their service. As announced by F-4 pilot Ron ‘Elvis’ King at EAA AirVenture, there are plans to fly the last remaining F-4s in Holloman Air Force Base on December 20th this year. He estimates that four Phantoms will take part in the event. There will be multiple flybys and some supersonic flying, as well as a Phinal Phantom formation of four F-4s.

The aircraft will also be making several other public appearances this year before this final send off. The most recent plans include just four stops; three of them airshows and one a NASCAR race flyover. As always, and especially with these old jets, the appearances are subject to change at any time due to weather, mechanical issues, or operational scheduling.

16-19 Sep – Reno, NV
23-26 Sep – MCAS Miramar, CA
14-17 Oct – Ft. Worth Alliance, TX
6 Nov – NASCAR Sprint Cup Flyby at Texas Motor Speedway
10-14 Nov – Nellis AFB, NV

Holloman Air Force Base is located near Alamogordo, New Mexico and is home to multiple flight groups such as F-16s of the 54th Fighter Group and the German Air Force Flying Training Center of the German Luftwaffe.

The Phantoms at Holloman Air Force Base are QF-4 Phantom target drones. As of EAA AirVenture 2016, 20 QF-4s remained in inventory. Not all of them will be completely destroyed, but members of the QF-4 program were told that they will need to get rid of the Phantoms one way or another. Once they are gone, the only remaining F-4 Phantom that will be airworthy in the United States is the one owned by the Collings Foundation, which has had mechanical issues for several years.

USAF F-4 PhantomUSAF F-4 Phantom

The date is currently tentative and is subject to change, but the pilots want to get the word out. So mark your calendars; USAF F-4 Phantoms will have one last hurrah in New Mexico before signing off for good this December.

For those who can’t make it, rest assured that AirshowStuff will have plenty of F-4 footage coming, including more exclusive cockpit footage!

Canadian Wildfire Smoke Cancels Blue Angels Performance In Nebraska

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0
Blue Angels Grounded Due to Smoke
Note: This is a file photo, thankfully the smoke was not this bad!

Typically, when the Blue Angels are forced to cancel a demonstration, it’s due to rain or low clouds. However, on Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska, the cancellation was due to smoke.

To be able to perform, the Blue Angels must have at least three nautical miles of visibility horizontally from the designated show center point. Saturday afternoon, visibility in the Lincoln area was significantly reduced due to wildfires burning in Canada and Minnesota. More than 600 square miles have been burned in Fort McMurray, Canada. Winds from the northeast, helped by a frontal system, blew the smoke into the area and an air quality alert was in effect.

Smoke Cancels Blue Angels Show

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Smoke Analysis product showed heavy smoke in the Lincoln area Saturday afternoon. Each red dot indicates a hot spot or an active fire detected by satellites.

Although it is certainly frustrating for the spectators, this is probably the least important consequence of the devastating fires and our thoughts are with those affected. Luckily the team was able to perform a full demonstration on Sunday.

FLYOVER ALERT: USAF Thunderbirds to Flyover 2016 Daytona 500 This Sunday

posted in: Flyovers | 0

Thunderbirds fly over Daytona

Don’t miss an early season appearance by the USAF Thunderbirds this Sunday as the USAF’s aerial demonstration squadron flies over the 2016 Daytona 500! Expect the jets to soar over the 1st Motorsports Stadium around 12:45-1pm eastern on Sunday, February 21st. The flyover will be shown on TV on your local FOX affiliate.

If you’re going to the race, the team will sign autographs from 9:00 am-9:40 am in the Sprint FANZONE located in the infield of the track.

This will mark 7 straight years the team has flown over the historic Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. The Thunderbirds will fly six F-16 Fighting Falcons as part of their “Delta” formation in the flyover.

On Wednesday, Chase Elliott, pole winner for the 58th Daytona 500 and his father, former NASCAR driver Bill Elliott both flew with the Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds, who released their 2016 and 2017 schedules at the International Council of Airshow Convention in December, will also flyover the 2017 Daytona 500, scheduled for February 19th, 2017.

US Jet Teams Wrap Up 2015 Airshow Season

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams | 0

US Navy Blue Angels and USAF Thunderbirds

This weekend marks the last performance for both the Blue Angels and the USAF Thunderbirds of the 2015 season. The Blues will end their season at the usual location, NAS Penscaola, as part of the annual Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow, while the Thunderbirds will end in an unusual spot. For the first time in many years, the Thunderbirds will not be at their home of Nellis AFB for their last show.

The Thunderbirds will instead perform this weekend at Moody AFB in southern Georgia as the headlining act of Thunder Over South Georgia.

Next year is an exciting year for the Blue Angels as they embark on their 70th year! Navy Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi of Mountain View, California will take over as “Boss,” leading the team on a season tour that will take them to 36 locations across the US. The 2016 season schedule for the Thunderbirds and other teams will be announced in early December at the International Council of Airshows convention in Las Vegas, NV.

Enjoy the off season guys!

1 2