NELLIS AFB, Nev. — The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have announced their return to flying six-ship demonstrations this weekend in Battle Creek, Michigan, July 2.
The Thunderbirds have flown five-ship demonstrations while Maj. Alex Turner, Thunderbird 6, stood down for several weeks following an aircraft mishap June 2nd after performing the 2016 U.S. Air Force Academy graduation flyover in Colorado Springs, Colo. Turner’s stand-down is standard protocol, allowing him to support the ongoing safety investigation and recover from the aircraft ejection.
The team looks forward to Turner’s return to flying as the Opposing Solo for the 2016 season. Turner has been medically cleared to fly and has already completed multiple practice flights leading up to his first demonstration back.
“I have complete confidence in the Thunderbirds’ capability to provide a safe and impressive show,” said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Commander of Air Combat Command. “Having discussed this with safety investigators and the team, we have looked at aircraft and pilot issues and feel that the six-ship team and Maj. Turner are ready to go. The return to a full show is the right thing for the team and for those coming out to see the Thunderbirds in action over the 4th of July weekend.”
The cause of the mishap is currently under investigation. The results of an Accident Investigation Board will be publicly released when the investigation is complete.