Ocean City Air Show proceeding despite Thunderbirds crash

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey in 2014. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey in 2014. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Organziers say the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly at this month’s Ocean City Air Show in Maryland as scheduled despite Thursday’s crash of Thunderbird 6.

Big crowds are expected for the annual air show in Ocean City, Maryland, drawing visitors from throughout the region, including Delaware. Organizers of the airshow say they’re moving forward as planned with the event featuring the Thunderbirds’ F-16’s. 

There were concerns that the Thunderbirds would be forced to miss the show on June 18-19 because of yesterday’s crash of Thunderbird 6. The crash happened in Colorado following the team’s flyover at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. The pilot, Major Alex Turner, safely ejected and is in good condition.

The Thunderbirds issued a statement cancelling this weekend’s performance at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. “The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team will be stood down for an undetermined amount of time, following this mishap…A stand down following a significant mishap is standard procedure, allowing accident investigation officials to gather facts and ensure the continued safe operation of our aircraft.”

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As of now, there has been no change to Thunderbirds’ scheduled show in Rhode Island on June 11-12 or to the OC Air Show on  June 18-19.

Also on Thursday, an F-18 flown by the Blue Angels crashed near Nashville during preparations for an airshow in Tennessee this weekend. Capt Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel 6, was killed. Kuss was the narrator for the Blue Angels performance last year at the OC Air Show. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family of Capt Kuss and the entire Blue Angels team,” said Bryan Lilley, President of the OC Air Show. “I know everyone who had a chance to meet him has been touched by such an amazing individual.”

The Blue Angels will not participate in their scheduled air show this weekend. The Blue Angels are expected to perform later this summer at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. That air show is scheduled for August 26-28.

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