DAYTON — The United States Air Force said that “excess airspeed and insufficient stopping distance” during steady rains caused an Air Force Thunderbirds F-16D to flip over at Dayton International Airport last June.
The incident happened at the end of a familiarization flight just a day before the Thunderbirds were to perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Both performances by the flight demonstration team scheduled the weekend of June 24-25 were cancelled.
The pilot, Captain Erik Gonsalves, and a crew member, TSgt. Kenneth Cordova, were injured in the accident. They are assigned to the 57th Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The plane, valued at $29 million, was destroyed.
A statement released by the Air Combat Command Public Affairs office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis said that the Accident Investigation Board concluded that contributing factors included environmental conditions affecting vision, misperception of changing environment, and failure to follow procedures.
Heavy rain had fallen most of the day of the accident.
“Upon landing, the pilot was unable to stop the aircraft on the prepared service,” the statement reads. “As a result, the aircraft departed the runway and overturned in the grass.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.
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