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26 June 2017, 01:52 | Laverne Osborne
Ty Greenlees Ty Greenlees
The Dayton Air Show is no stranger to tragedy: In 2013, a pilot and stunt walker were killed when their bi-plane crashed onto the runway and burst into flames as spectators looked on. The jet's pilot, Captain Erik Gonsalves, had not been released as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Thunderbirds' Twitter feed.
He says the pilot suffered some lacerations and injuries to his leg and the other team member had no visible injuries.
Whether the team flies on Sunday will be decided once Heard and his superiors determine if the team can me mission-ready.
Before the rollover at Dayton International Airport, the military plane flew the unfriendly skies as gusts reached up to 30 mph and heavy rain showered the area, sometimes pouring down as much as two inches per hour.
"It's best not to speculate", said Heard.
"We have a very, very good safety record", Heard said, though he acknowledged this was not the first crash in Thunderbirds history.
"It was complicated", he said. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base dispatched crash and rescue crews.
"It was a tremendous effort", said Heard.
Dayton's annual air show begins Saturday.
The air show is estimated to bring in $2.6M into the region's economy annually. They were set to perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show and were doing a familiarization flight when the incident happened upon landing.
An F-16D aircraft of U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team overturned after landing at the Dayton International Airport runway.
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