Published: Sun, April 08, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

Thunderbirds pilot who lost life in crash has roots in Valencia

Thunderbirds pilot who lost life in crash has roots in Valencia

Stephen Del Bagno, pilot of the No. 4 Thunderbirds jet.

The 34-year-old U.S. Air Force pilot spent a significant portion of his military career here along the Gulf Coast.

Gonsalves had "a lot of experience", Heard said, with 1,600 flight hours.

An Air Force pilot is missing after their F-16 crashed Wednesday morning outside of Las Vegas, according to a service statement.

"Del Bagno", said Brig. "Del Bagno, ' Leavitt said in the statement, where she described the pilot as an 'integral part" of the Thunderbirds team.

The Thunderbirds are scheduled to participate in the Huntington Beach Air Show on October 19 through October 21.

In June 2017, a Thunderbirds F-16D crashed in Dayton, Ohio, after the aircraft landed too quickly in heavy rain, causing the aircraft to overrun the runway.

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Del Bagno, of Valencia, Calif., graduated from Utah State University and worked as a flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter, and banner tow pilot before he joined the Air Force, according to his Thunderbirds bio. The pilot ejected and is now in "stable condition". The crash upon landing left the pilot with minor injuries but completely destroyed that $29 million aircraft.

The planned Thunderbirds show this weekend at March Air Reserve Base in Southern California was canceled. The pilot managed to escape to safety using a parachute.

Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, who was already a member of the Thunderbirds team, was later named the team's commander. Based on the bios on the Thunderbird's website, numerous pilots that visited Toledo in 2016 are still on the elite squad. The highly trained pilots perform aerobatic formations and maneuvers during military ceremonies.

The incident was the third USA military aircraft crash this week.

Also on Tuesday, a Marine Harrier jet crashed during takeoff in East Africa. The pilot was in stable condition.

A Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion went down Tuesday afternoon near the U.S. -Mexico border.

The crash remains under investigation.

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