UPDATE: The Air Force has identified the pilot of the crash as Thunderbirds pilot Maj. Stephen Del Bagno.
“We are mourning the loss of Mag. Del Bagno,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt. “He was an integral part of the team, and our hearts are heavy with this loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”
Before joining the Thunderbirds, Del Bagno was an F-35A evaluator pilot. Prior to his Air Force service, he was a civilian flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter, and banner tow pilot.
Del Bagno is featured in the video below talking about his experience joining the Thunderbirds.
Defense officials have released news that an Air Force F-16 fighter jet has crashed Wednesday at Nellis Air Force Base outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The pilot, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, was killed in the crash.
The jet crashed around 10:30 a.m. local time during a training flight at the Nevada Test and Training Range. Emergency responders responded quickly to the scene.
This is the third crash of a military aircraft this week. A marine Corps CH-53E helicopter crashed along the US/Mexico border in California killing four crew members, and a Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet crashed in Djibouti.
This story is still developing, and updates will be posted as more information is revealed.
The F-16 is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter jet designed to be an air superiority fighter. As of 2015, it is the world’s most numerous fixed-wing aircraft in military service.
A single F-16 unit costs between $15-35 million depending on the variant.
The F-16 is available in a one or two seat configuration.
Its single engine produces over 28,000 pounds of thrust and can reach a speed of over 1,300 miles per hour.
In related news, read the report of the crashed Marine helicopter in the next article below.