In a statement yesterday, the air base said: 'An Air Force F-16 assigned to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, crashed at approximately 10:30 am during routine training on the Nevada Test and Training Range. A crash investigation is also underway. The Air Force says it doesn't yet know how the crash will impact the rest of the squadron's show season.
The Thunderbirds consist of six of the Air Force's best F-16 pilots, who fly hard maneuvers in tandem and perform airshows throughout the U.S.
The Thunderbirds' participation in the upcoming March Field Air & Space Expo has been cancelled. The pilot's identity won't be released until his next-of-kin are notified. Based on the bios on the Thunderbird's website, numerous pilots that visited Toledo in 2016 are still on the elite squad. "We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this hard time", Leavitt said. The Nevada Test and Training Range is near the Thunderbirds' home station of Nellis Air Force Base, just outside Las Vegas. The pilot in that case ejected.
In November, the Air Force removed the Thunderbirds commander Lt. Col. Jason Heard, citing unnecessary risk taking.
The Air Force Thunderbirds pilot who was killed Wednesday when his jet crashed northwest of Las Vegas was in his first season with the team.
Its display team is made up of six of the Air Force's best F-16 pilots who perform all over the country.
According to the Air Force Safety Center, there have been nine "class A" mishaps involving F-16 aircraft since the start of fiscal year 2016, and in seven of those, the aircraft was totally destroyed.
However officials confirmed this morning the pilot had tragically passed away due to his injuries.
It was the third aviation incident involving the US military in the past 48 hours.
A US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jet crashed Tuesday during takeoff from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport.
On April 3, a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed in Southern California resulting in four fatalities.