F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Thunderbird F-16C crash just outside of Nellis AFB killing pilot.

April 4, 2018 (by Jon) - The USAF official Aerial Demonstration Squadron, called the Thunderbirds were on an aerial demonstration training flight at the time.

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The Thunderbirds brand-new block 52 no. 5 on display in Puerto Rico on April 18th, 2009. [Photo by Hector A. Rivera]

Reported that the aircraft went down at 10:30am local time. Sadly the military pilot, identified as Major Stephen Del Bagno, was killed in this mishap. Major Del Bagno flew the number four position. Some social media reports indicate a collision between two aircraft with one aircraft landing safely. The USAF aerial demonstration team is based out of Nellis AFB, Nevada. Thunderbird participation for the upcoming March Air Reserve Base “The March Field Air & Space Expo” has been canceled.

Here is Maj. Del Bagno’s full bio from the Thunderbirds’ website:

Major Stephen Del Bagno is the Slot Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 4 jet. He is a 2005 graduate of Utah Valley State University, and commissioned from Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Ala. in 2007. Before joining the Air Force, Del Bagno was a civilian flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter, and a banner tow pilot. He enjoys snowboarding, water sports and spending time with family and friends. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Del Bagno served as an F-35A Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida. He has logged more than 3,500 total flight hours in over 30 different aircraft, with 1,400 hours as an Air Force pilot. Del Bagno is in his first season with the team and hails from Valencia, California.




Additional images:

Major Del Bagno-Stephen #4 slot

Thunderbird number 5, Lead Solo, Maj. Todd D. Canterbury, with gear coming up, performs a full-after burner take off during the weekend Nellis Aviation Nation 2003 air show at Nellis AFB on November 16th. [USAF photo by TSgt. Kevin J. Greunwald]

Thunderbird no. 7 flies over the Midwestern United States during an air refueling mission on October 1st, 2007. [USAF photo by A1C. Chad M. Kellum]