USAF Thunderbirds Resume Flight Schedule, Will Perform At Enid Airshow

Wednesday, June 15th 2016, 11:13 am
By: News On 6

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds announced they are returning to their 2016 demonstration schedule, beginning this weekend in Ocean City, Maryland.

The announcement means the team will be performing as scheduled at Vance Air Force Base in Enid on July 23.

The Thunderbirds temporarily stood down for two weekends following a mishap on June 2, which happened after they performed a flyover at the 2016 U.S. Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In that incident Major Alex Turner, who flies Thunderbird #6, was forced to eject. The F-16 crash-landed and Turner safely parachuted to the ground.

On the same day, the pilot flying the #6 jet for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels died when his F/A-18 crashed during a rehearsal with that team in Tennessee.

6/2/2016: Related Story: Blue Angel Pilot Killed In Tennessee Crash, Thunderbird Pilot Unhurt In Colorado Crash

During the stand-down, the Thunderbirds say the team helped the investigation into what caused the mishap. Though the team is resuming its airshow schedule, it's not clear when Major Turner will start performing with the team again. 

"His timeline to return to the demonstration will be made as Major Turner gets back into the air. We want to ensure that Alex is physically and mentally ready to go," said Lt. Col. Chris Hammond, Thunderbird #1, Commander/Leader.

The Vance Air Force Base airshow and open house will celebrate the facility's 75th birthday.

Get more information about the event here.

Admission to the airshow and open house is free.