Thunderbirds will not perform Sunday at Vectren Dayton Air Show

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 12:42 PM
Updated: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 6:10 PM

Latest on Thunderbird crash, 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.

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

MORE: Who are the pilots involved in the Thunderbirds jet crash?

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.

Thunderbird F-16 pilot, team passenger in ‘good condition’ after crash.

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.

A ocal man gives eyewitness account of the Thunderbirds plane crash that happened Friday afternoon at Dayton International Airport, leaving two pilots hospitalized.

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.

What you need to know about the Thunderbirds 

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

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.

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WHIO Reports: Human trafficking

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 9:34 AM

Sign of Human Trafficking

This edition of WHIO Reports will focus on human trafficking. It sounds like the kind of crime that happens somewhere else around the country. But, in fact, it’s happening in the Miami Valley. It’s a combination of a lot of crimes, often times it involves drugs, prostitution, organized crime, forced labor – some of them or all of the above. 

RELATED: Indiana gas stations teach staff to report human trafficking

Guests include: Tonya Folks, Trafficking Liaison with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department; Susan Gruenberg, Human Trafficking Awareness Advocate and Amy Wilhelm, Safe Harbor House (Springfield).

WHIO Reports airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

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Hot with the slight chance for rain for the rest of the holiday weekend

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 3:49 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

It's going to be hot today and Monday, with the slight chance for rain each day.

Lots of sunshine is expected today with highs in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees. With the daytime heat, there may be an isolated shower or storm, but it looks like most will stay dry. Don’t cancel your outdoor plans, but have a backup plan indoors, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said. 

>>Live Interactive Doppler 7 Radar


  • Hot and humid today through Tuesday
  • Slight chance for an isolated shower or storm today and Monday
  • Better chance for rain Wednesday and Thursday

>>WHIO Weather App

Tonight: A mild night is expected again with temperatures dropping into the middle to upper 60s.

>>How to spot Jupiter through the weekend

Monday (Memorial Day): Should be a dry day, but once again an isolated shower or storm can’t be ruled out. It will be a hot day with highs near 90 degrees.

>>UV Index: How to protect your skin 

Tuesday: Another hot day is expected with highs near 90 under mostly sunny skies.

Wednesday: Remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto could bring a chance for rain, maybe storms with highs in the middle 80s. 

Thursday: Remnants of Alberto will give us more rain, highs in the middle 80s.

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Family sues district after daughter, 5, sexually assaulted on bus by fifth grade student

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 9:02 PM

Family Sues District After 5-Year-Old Daughter Sexually Assaulted on Bus by Fifth Grade Student

A family is suing the Jackson Local School District in federal court for a 2016 incident in which their 5-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a fifth grade student on a bus, according to the lawsuit.

>> Read more trending news

The 11-year-old boy had been disciplined for throwing a lit match on the bus and was supposed to sit in the front right seat alone, the family’s attorney told WJW.

But that didn’t happen.

“The driver is unable to see the seat right behind him,” Mills told WJW. “So then over a period of a couple weeks, the kindergartner is subjected to sexual assaults. It is horrific. It is one of the most horrifying cases I have ever handled.”

The boy was charged with gross sexual imposition, according to WJW. A police report indicated video on the school bus showed the sexual assaults.

The Jackson Schools superintendent would not comment because it is an active lawsuit, according to WJW. The boy and his family have since moved out of the district.

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Arrest made at scene where multiple vehicles were hit by rocks on WB U.S. 35 in Dayton

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 10:44 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 9:49 AM

Multiple vehicles hit by rocks on WB U.S. 35 in Dayton

UPDATE @ 9:37 a.m.:

Police arrested one male juvenile at the scene where rocks were being thrown onto vehicles traveling westbound on U.S. 35.

The juvenile was taken to the Juvenile Justice Center where he was booked on several counts of vandalism, according to a Dayton police report.

According to a report, the suspect admitted to throwing rocks at vehicles on U.S. 35.

It was not confirmed if anyone else was involved but the suspect told police another male juvenile threw rocks as well.


Nearly 20 motorists pulled over Saturday night after their vehicles were struck by someone throwing rocks while they were traveling west on U.S. 35.

Thomas Acco of Jefferson Twp. and his girlfriend had just dropped off their children and were headed home when a rock came through the front of the windshield.

“I was in shock that someone would play with someone’s life like this,” he said.

“Glass just flew everywhere. We had a little swerve contest with the car in front of us — their windshield got hit also. We just pulled to the side and it was like 15, 20 cars lined up to the side all with damage.”

Motorists line up along westbound U.S. 35 May 26, 2018, just before the South Smithville Road exit after their vehicles were struck by rocks.(JAMES BUECHELE / STAFF)

Dayton police Lt. Chris Malson said there are no suspects, but plenty of victims.

“We got a report of multiple cars, approximately 18 of them, that were hit with rocks as they were driving westbound on U.S. 35 near Woodman (Drive),” he said. “All the calls came within about five minutes of each other.

The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center said they received starting at 10 p.m. The last one received was at 10:29 p.m.

One of the victims was Susan Myers of Lima who was headed back home with her husband, riding in the front passenger seat.

“We heard a loud bang and looked up and saw the damage on the windshield,” she said. “We immediately pulled over and noticed that there were several cars ahead of us also pulled over with their hazard lights on.”

>> Troy bicyclist struck, killed identified

There are no reports of injuries, but Myers said they were shaken and now have to deal with broken glass inside the car and their insurance company.

Tony Gerardi of Xenia said he was driving home from visiting friends in Dayton when his car was struck.

“I hope police get them. I’m safe, thank God,” said Gerardi, “I don’t know why someone would do something like that.”

Earlier Saturday, around 4:45 p.m., another two motorists, one from Illinois and one from Dayton, reported their windshields were struck by rocks. At least one of the windshields shattered just when they went under a bridge. They told police the rocks appeared to come from the north side of the highway but were not able to see the culprits. Police officers found a pile of rocks laying on the side of the highway before the South Smithville Road exit, according to a Dayton police report.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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