Thunderbird 6 Crashes in Colorado

Peterson AFB, CO– On 2 JUN, 2016, F-16C (91-0392) crashed on landing approach when “Something went wrong.” The aircraft was assigned to the 57th Aerial Demonstration Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada.    The aircraft was Thunderbird 6, Opposing Solo. The aircraft was named “Sweet Baby Aurora 6”.  Major Alex Turner safely ejected from the aircraft after steering it into an open field.  Early reports say that he injured his arm in the ejection.

The Thunderbirds were returning to Peterson AFB after performing a fly-over as part of the graduation ceremonies at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  President Obama was also there for the graduation and stopped his motorcade to thank Major Turner for his service.  A Blackhawk (HH-64) assigned to Presidential security conduced Search and Rescue operations to recover Major Turner before returning to the Presidential detail.

This crash comes on the heels of a fatal Blue Angel crash earlier in the day near Smyrna, Tennessee.  Navy officials confirm that the pilot of the F/A-18 was killed in the crash apparently unable to eject shortly after the plane had taken off.

The Thunderbirds have had two other mishaps since 2003.

14 September 2003: Captain Chris Stricklin, flying Thunderbird No. 6 (F-16), crashed during an airshow at Mountain Home AFB.

20 August 2005: The Thunderbirds temporarily grounded themselves pending an investigation into a minor mid-air incident during the Chicago Air & Water Show.

Obama didn’t let Maj. Turner get to the hospital before “Thanking him for his service”. I hope he didn’t shake his injured arm.


Obama arrived late to the graduation.  He also ran long delivering his speech, while the Thunderbirds orbited out of sight waiting to do the final fly over.  This had led to reports that the cause of the crash was fuel stagnation (running out of gas).  Along with the mishap aircraft, all was not well with the rest of the team.  Witnesses at Peterson AFB claim that one T-bird flamed out in the chocks on recovery and at least one more flamed out on the taxiway after departing the runway.



Air Force Staff Sgt. Alexander Rodriguez, a U.S. Air Force firefighter stationed in San Angelo, Texas, who was visiting with his family, said he raced from his brother’s house after hearing “a few loud bangs” and saw the plane gliding close to the ground before impact.

If I remember my F-16 engine class, when the engine stagnates due to fuel the compressor stalls.  This stall (or multiple stalls) can be heard as a loud bang or series of bangs..




Readers may note no fire damage on aircraft.

Is the discoloration aft of the cockpit  due to the EPU firing?


Thunderbirds pilot Maj. Alex Turner and his flight commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Hammond, have been fired and their careers ruined. (more)

I want some  F-16 pilots watch the following video. It shows the HUD during the mishap.  I’d like to know what the fuel state was in the HUD.


What does "FUEL" in the HUD mean?
What does “FUEL” in the HUD mean?


5 thoughts on “Thunderbird 6 Crashes in Colorado

  1. The “OFFICIAL” (wink,wink) cause of the crash has been determined:
    “The malfunction on the F-16 jet on June 2 caused the pilot to accidentally turn the engine off. The mishap occurred when the throttle trigger became stuck in a retracted position.

    Air Force investigators cited lax maintenance practices for the crash and told the Air Force to update its maintenance manuals to prevent such malfunctions.”

  2. So he was bingo fuel but we must blame mx some how…. if only we had a way… blame the throttle trigger and put into action an emergency tcto. Yea that sounds good.

  3. Even IF the t-stick had a faulty trigger, it still takes a flight stick actuator to lift and rotate the throttle to chop it to cutoff. I want to see/do a crash memory download to see exact throttle position vs. engine function.

  4. 392 was one of our jets in the 389th at Mt Home when the “Hahn Mafia” opened it up, we had some ratty Shaw left overs then the Block 52’s.

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