A commander of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds — the branch’s elite flight demonstration team — told reporters that one of its F-16D Fight Falcons skidded off a Dayton, Ohio runway Friday morning while landing, trapping its airmen inside for more than an hour.
Thankfully, the pilot and the passenger (a tactical aircraft maintainer) did not sustain any serious injuries.
The pilot and passenger are receiving care and currently in good condition.
— Thunderbirds (@AFThunderbirds) June 23, 2017
This from the Chicago Tribune:
The airport got a record-breaking amount of rain that day, according to the Dayton Daily News, but the Air Force said the weather had been deemed safe to fly in.
And sure enough, nothing happened to the F-16 while it was in the air. Even the landing – shortly after noon in wind and rain – looked smooth to one witness.
Until, that is, the jet rolled straight off the runway.
“I looked up and I said, ‘Man, he’s going really fast,'” the man told WHIO 7. “He was almost hydroplaning.”
He saw the jet swerve left, then right, then briefly go airborne, flip and land on its canopy.
Lt. Col. Jason Heard, who leads the Air Force’s aerial acrobatics team, said the jet skidded about 300 feet off the end of the runway, and that he could not recall another incident quite like it in the Thunderbirds’ 64-year history.
According to the airport’s director, the service members were stuck in the overturned jet for an “inordinate amount of time” mostly because the personnel weren’t familiar with such an aircraft (it’s not a military air station).
— Dayton Daily News (@daytondailynews) June 24, 2017
This post will update if anything more is reported on this still-developing story.