Thunderbirds will not fly in Dayton air show

(WDTN Photo/Sallie Taylor)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Representatives from the Thunderbirds held a news conference of their own Friday.

Capt. Erik Gonsalves

The Commander, Lt. Col Jason Heard, said the pilot, Capt. Erik Gonsalves suffered some cuts and injuries to his leg but the injuries are non-life threatening. Capt. Erik Gonsalves has approximately 1,600 hours of flight time.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds posted information on their Facebook page. In the post, they say the F-16D suffered damage and the pilot and a passenger, a tactical aircraft maintainer, are receiving care and are in good condition.

“Our first priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard,

SSgt. Kenneth Cordova


The passenger, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova was also taken to Miami Valley Hospital. He is listed in good condition.

Officials from the airport and the air show spoke with reporters Friday about the Thunderbirds jet that crashed at the end of the runway.

Little was said about the accident itself but officials made it clear the show will go on.  It is not yet known if the Thunderbirds will perform. Chairman of the US Air and Trade ShowVectren Dayton Air Show Mike Imhoff said the Thunderbird team will determine if they fly or not, and any information about the two people on board, including any injuries that may have been sustained.


A plane is on its top at the Dayton International Airport.

The incident happened shortly before 12:30 pm at the Dayton International Airport where aircraft and crews are practicing for the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

The Thunderbirds posted a statement on Twitter about the incident:

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base sent a crash team and heavy rescue crew to the scene.

No injuries have been reported but 2 NEWS crews saw a man being taken into Miami Valley Hospital by medics from Butler Township.

Staff Sgt. Tabatha McCarthy with the Air Force Thunderbirds public relations office says there was a “mishap” while a plane was on the ground. She had no other information.

The City of Dayton released a statement Friday:

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. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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