Thunderbirds will not perform Sunday at Vectren Dayton Air Show

UPDATE @ 6:10 p.m. (June 24)

While the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will not fly Sunday at the Vectren Dayton Air Show presented by Kroger, the 2017 show will take off with 10 other features, air show organizers said.

The top attractions include a U.S. Air Force F-35 Heritage Flight and U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet demonstration along with Sean Tucker, Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team, GEICO Skytypers, Redline Airshows, Rob Holland Ultimate Air Shows, Suzuki Aerosports and a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the famous Doolittle Raid.

Gates open at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the feature show from 11:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Thunderbirds canceled performances Saturday and Sunday following a mishap Friday, when an F-16 aircraft flipped on its top in a grassy area after it landed and was taxiing to a staging area. Pilot Capt. Erik Gonsalves remains at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, but passenger Tech Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova was released this morning.

Thanks for all the love and support. I'm doing okay. More to follow, I'm thankful for all our friendships. @AFThunderbirds


— Thunderbird 8 (@AFthunderbird08)

UPDATE @ 4:35 p.m. (June 24)

The Thunderbirds announced today that they will not perform Sunday at the Vectren Dayton Air Show, according to an update from the flight team.

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m. (June 24)

The Thunderbirds performance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show is still uncertain Sunday, according to an afternoon update from the flight team.

“The decision to continue flying operations is to be determined,” the Thunderbirds said.

According to Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Commander/Leader of the Thunderbirds, “Safety is our top priority and we are evaluating our processes and readiness to perform.”

UPDATE @ 7:55 a.m. (June 24)

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova has been released from the hospital, according to the Thunderbirds.

“Our priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds Commander/Leader. “ Both teammates were extremely brave during the extraction and we’d like to thank Wright-Patterson Crash and Recovery, Dayton International Fire and Rescue, local police, medical personnel and team members on scene for their incredible recovery efforts.”

RELATED: A.J. Hawk flies with the Thunderbirds ahead of air show

UPDATE @ 5:50 p.m.

The top priority of the Dayton International Airport is to ensure crowd safety this weekend and help the Thunderbirds team process the incident, Aviation Director Terrence Slaybaugh said.

"We're obviously very disappointed they won't fly [Saturday]," he said. "We'll get through it."

Slaybaugh said the mishap was a "best-case scenario," with a quick response from emergency teams and no fatalities.

The airport will work "arm in arm" with the military during its investigation into the accident.

Response teams are working to move the aircraft away from the accident site tonight, he said.

RELATED: Former F-16 pilot says wind likely factor in flip over

UPDATE @ 5:09 p.m.

Lt. Col. Jason Heard of the Thunderbirds says there was a “mishap” with the plane upon landing. The pilot and tactical aircraft maintainer that were on board are in good condition.

Heard said the Thunderbirds will not fly on Saturday.

“From the Thunderbirds that were on scene ... to crash recovery ... to fire department ... it was a tremendous effort. Very impressed and grateful,” Heard said.

The injuries are non life-threatening. The man in the back seat had no visible injuries, Heard said.

The pilot had “a lot of experience,” Heard said, with 1600 hours of experience.

Capt. Erik Gonsalves was the pilot. The passenger was Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova.

Heard said “we land in rain all the time.”

Heard said they were able to speak and communicate with the pilot and passenger throughout the recovery effort, which took two hours. They were alert and speaking.

“The plane sustained damage as it was overturned,” Heard said.

UPDATE @ 5 p.m.

The Thunderbirds will be providing an update on the crash and the injured. You can watch live here

UPDATE @ 4:43 p.m.

The Air Force Thunderbirds tweeted their pilot and tactical aircraft maintainer injured in a crash at the Dayton Air Show Friday are in good condition.

In other social media posts by the team, Lt. Col. Jason Heard said, “our first priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety.” Lt. Col. Heard is the Thunderbirds Commander/Leader.

The performance at Dayton Air Show this weekend is to be determined, but Dayton Air Show organizers say the rest of the planned Dayton Air Show will go on.

UPDATE @ 3:52 p.m.

Terry Slaybaugh, airport director, is speaking. He said it took an “inordinate amount of time” to remove the two occupants of the aircraft. The plane crashed around 12:20 p.m.

A Vectren Dayton Air Show official said the Dayton Air Show will go on as scheduled Saturday. They are unsure yet if the Thunderbirds will fly.

The pilots are conscious and talking.

UPDATE @ 2:38 p.m.

From Thunderbirds Facebook page: 
“The United States Air Force Thunderbirds were conducting a single-ship familiarization flight on Friday June 23, 2017. Upon landing there was a mishap at the Dayton International Airport with an F-16D Fighting Falcon at approximately 12:20 p.m. Emergency services are on the scene. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

Members of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds

RELATED: Dayton Air Show: Two previous crashes

UPDATE @ 2:29 p.m.

Reports indicate the second pilot has been removed from the plane.

Officials will soon be giving a live update on the crash. You can watch live here

UPDATE @ 2:05 p.m.

Ricardo von Puttkammer, chief correspondent for Aviation Photojournal, was out in the air field when he witnessed the two-seat Thunderbird taxi on the runway toward the staging area.

"It was raining, and I was taking pictures of some airplanes," he said. "The plane was taxing and it flipped. Right away the fire department personnel was running toward the accident."

von Puttkammer said volunteer event staff and media were immediately taken back to the Dayton Airport Expo Center.

UPDATE @ 2:01 p.m.

One pilot has reportedly been extricated and crews are working to extricate a second pilot.

Toni Bankston, spokeswoman for city of Dayton issued a statement: “
The City of Dayton is confirming an aircraft accident involving one of the acts scheduled to appear at the Vectren Dayton Airshow this weekend. There were 2 people on board. Airport Fire and Rescue are providing assistance at the scene. The airport is open.”

PHOTOS: Thunderbird flips on its top at Dayton Air Show

UPDATE @ 1:51 p.m.

Emergency scanner traffic indicates a “front pilot has been disentangled.” Dayton police will escort the medic unit to the hospital.

Thunderbird crash at the Dayton Air Show: What we know now

Delays reported at Dayton airport after weather, military accident

UPDATE @ 1:25 p.m.

There are reports that two people are trapped inside the plane.

UPDATE @ 1:18 p.m.

There are reports of possible entrapment. The injured pilot is to go with CareFlight crew to the hospital, according to emergency scanner traffic.

Dayton Air Show: What to know about Dayton’s biggest air spectacle

Live Coverage: Thunderbird F-16 plane flips on its top at Dayt...

Live Coverage: A F-16 Thunderbird plane flips on its top at Dayton International Airport the latest developments on this story at

Posted by WHIO on Friday, June 23, 2017

UPDATE @ 1:10 p.m.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base first responders have responded to Thunderbird jet crash at Dayton International Airport, according to base spokeswoman Marie Vanover.

UPDATE @ 1:05 p.m.

Medics have arrived on scene. An occupant of the plane has reportedly given medics a “Thumbs Up.”

Emergency scanner traffic indicates the ejection seat is still armed.

The aircraft is as safe as we can make it,” said fire crews on emergency scanners.

UPDATE @ 12:59 p.m.

Dayton Daily News photographer Ty Greenlees is on the scene. He reports photographer Ricardo von Puttkammer told him he saw the two-seat Thunderbird land and taxi toward the staging area when it appeared that a gust of wind flipped the F-16 on its top.

Von Puttkammer is chief correspondent for Aviation Photojournal in New York City.


UPDATE @ 12:56 p.m. 

A tow truck has been called to the scene. The plane went off the runway and is in the grass, according to emergency dispatchers.

A medical helicopter is unable to fly. A CareFlight ground unit is on the way to the air show. We are working to find out the extent of injuries.

UPDATE @ 12:43 p.m.

News Center 7’s John Bedell confirms a military plane is on its top. Law enforcement official confirms a Thunderbird jet on its top.

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar reports heavy rain in the area at that time. Rainfall rates in the vicinity exceeding two inches per hour, Collar said.

Dayton Air Show has Plan B if grassy lots turn muddy for motorists


There have been reports of a military plane crashing at the Dayton Air Show today at the Dayton International Airport, 3600 Terminal Drive.

An eye witness reports a Thunderbird F-16 coming in for landing, had slipped and wound up on its top. Rescue crews are on the scene.

We are working to confirm more information and will update this report.