clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jets from the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels crash on same day

New, 6 comments
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Jets from both the US Air Force's Thunderbirds and Navy's Blue Angels aerobatics demonstration teams have crashed in the same day. The Blue Angels were practicing ahead of performances in Smyrna, Tennessee this weekend; the Thunderbirds had just finished flying at the Air Force Academy's commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

WEAR reports that the pilot of the Blue Angels F/A-18 was killed, the only fatality in the incident. The pilot of the Thunderbirds aircraft — an F-16 — was able to eject and parachute to safety, reportedly unharmed, according to KKTVThe Denver Post says that President Obama, who was attending the Air Force Academy ceremony, shook hands with the pilot before departing aboard Air Force One.

Though pilots for both teams are selected through a rigorous process and are considered some of the most elite airmen and women in the military, flying aerobatics in ultra-high-performance fighter jets is still an incredibly risky job. Some 27 Blue Angels pilots have been killed in the team's 70-year history.