Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Valencia Thunderbirds pilot dies in Nevada crash during training exercise

Valencia Thunderbirds pilot dies in Nevada crash during training exercise

The U.S. Air Force has identified the Thunderbirds pilot killed Wednesday after his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed near Nellis Air Force Base.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, according to the statement.

Emergency personnel were called to the scene, and the accident is being investigated, the Air Force said.

"Team Charleston extends our prayers and condolences to the entire U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team, family and friends during this hard time", Joint Base Charleston officials said in a news release.

The pilot was part of the US Air Force Thunderbirds, an air demonstration squad similar to Britain's Red Arrows.

The Thunderbirds have canceled their upcoming weekend appearance at March Reserve Base in California. Based on the bios on the Thunderbird's website, numerous pilots that visited Toledo in 2016 are still on the elite squad.

According to a short biography provided by the Thunderbirds, Del Bagno was a fan of snowboarding and water sports and loved spending time with his family and friends in his spare time.

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Del Bagno commissioned out of Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in 2007. The 2018 season was his first with the team.

The Air Force said Thursday pilot Maj.

"You can't help but ... find what it was that drove you to fly or to join the Air Force", he said. Four pilots were killed when their planes went down at Thunderbird Lake.

This is the 2nd incident involving a Thunderbird plane in a year. The pilot in that case ejected.

In December, the Air Force announced that Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh would become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron's commander and lead pilot.

The crash was the third involving the US military in two days. He was assigned to a military command that conducts research and weapon system tests.

Also April 3, a Marine AV-8B Harrier jet crashed on takeoff from an airfield in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

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