A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird at the Daytona 500 in February.
A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird at the Daytona 500 in February.
Photo: AP

A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot is dead after the pilot’s F-16 crashed during a routine training flight on Wednesday morning at the Nevada Test and Training Range, the Air Force said on Thursday. The crash was the third for the Thunderbirds in two years, following an incident in June 2016, in which the pilot ejected, and another in June 2017, when a Thunderbird jet ran off a runway, injuring two.


In a statement, the Air Force said that the identity of the pilot would be withheld until next-of-kin notification. The Thunderbirds show this weekend at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, meanwhile, has been canceled, with the Air Force saying it’s, “unknown how this accident will impact the remainder of the 2018 Thunderbirds season.”

The Thunderbirds last did a flyover at the Daytona 500 in February.

CNN has some more context:

Wednesday’s Thunderbird crash was the fourth incident involving US military aircraft in approximately 24 hours. The other incidents are:

A US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jet crashed Tuesday during takeoff from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport. The pilot was able to eject and is being treated.

A US Marine Corps CH-53 crashed Tuesday in the vicinity of Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, killing four crew members.

A United States Marines Corps CH-53 helicopter was damaged late Tuesday while landing in the East African country of Djibouti, in the vicinity of Arta Beach.


Over a dozen Thunderbird pilots have been killed since the squadron’s formation in 1953. The Thunderbirds are based at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, home of the 57th Wing.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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