Thunderbirds pilot killed in crash during training exercise

Posted at 7:19 AM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 09:19:18-04

The U.S. Air Force has identified Major Stephen Del Bagno as the pilot of Thunderbird 4, killed Wednesday when his F-16 jet crashed during training exercises in Nevada.

“We are mourning the loss of Major Del Bagno,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander. “He was an integral part of our team and our hearts are heavy with his loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”

The Air Force said the jet from the service’s Precision Demonstration Team crashed at 10:30 a.m. local time at Nellis Air Force Base. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash.

The accident has caused the Thunderbirds to cancel their show for the weekend of April 7th at March Air Reserve Base in southern California.

It is unknown if this incident will impact the remainder of the Thunderbirds 2018 schedule.

This is the third Thunderbirds crash within the past two years.

According the the US Air Force, Del Bagno is a 2005 graduate of Utah Valley State University who received his commission from Officer Training School in 2007. His prior experience includes work as a civilian flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter and as a banner tow pilot. He previously served an an F-35A Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.

Thunderbirds remaining 2018 schedule:

April 7-8: March ARB, California – “March Field Air & Space Expo”   –    Cancelled 

April 14-15: Lakeland, Florida – “Sun-N-Fun Fly-In & Expo”

April 21-22: Columbus AFB, Mississippi – “Wings over Columbus”

April 28: JB Charleston, South Carolina – “Charleston Air Expo”

May 5-6: Fort Lauderdale, Florida – “Fort Lauderdale Air Show”

May 12: Laughlin AFB, Texas – “Laughlin AFB Open House

May 19-20: Langley AFB, Virginia – “AirPower Over Hampton Roads”

May 23: USAF Academy, Colorado

May 26-27: Cannon AFB, New Mexico – “Cannon AFB Air Show”

June 2-3: Mountain Home AFB, Idaho – “Gunfighter Skies 2018 Air Show”

June 9-10: Niagara Falls ARS, New York – “Thunder Over Niagara”

June 16-17: Ocean City, Maryland – “OC Air Show”

June 23-24: Hill AFB, Utah – “The Utah Air Show”

June 30-1 July: JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska – “Arctic Thunder Air Show”

July 7-8: Duluth, Minnesota – “Duluth Air and Aviation Expo”

July 14-15: Westover ARB, Massachusetts – “The Great New England Air Show”

July 21-22: Milwaukee, Wisconsin – “Milwaukee Air & Water Show”

July 25: Cheyenne, Wyoming – “Frontier Days Air Show”

July 28-29: Latrobe, Pennsylvania – “Westmoreland County Air Show”

August 4: Minot AFB, North Dakota – “Minot AFB Air Show”

August 18-19: Chicago, Illinois – “60th Chicago Air & Water Show”

August 22: Atlantic City, New Jersey – “Thunder over the Boardwalk”

August 25-26: Ypsilanti, Michigan – “Thunder Over Michigan Air Show”

September 1-3: Toronto, Canada – “Canadian International Air Show”

September 8-9: McConnell AFB, Kansas – “McConnell AFB Open House”

September 15-16: New Windsor, New York – “New York Air Show”

September 22-23: Mather, California – “California Capital Air Show”

September 29-30: Salinas, California – “California International Airshow”

October 6-7: Baltimore, Maryland – “Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show”

October 13-14: Fort Worth, Texas – “Fort Worth Alliance Air Show”

October 20-21: Huntington Beach, California – “Breitling Huntington Beach Air Show”

October 27-28: Little Rock AFB, Arkansas – “Thunder Over the Rock”

November 3-4: Homestead ARB, Florida – “Wings Over Homestead”