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Air Force relieves Thunderbirds commander

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posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:16 PM
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In a shocking statement, the Air Force announced today that Lt. Col. Jason Heard, the commander of the Thunderbirds, was relieved of command on November 20th. The decision was based on "lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style," and that "concerns arose that his approach to leading the team was resulting in increased risk within the demonstration which eroded team dynamic."

In June of this year, Thunderbird 8 crashed on landing in Dayton. The cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error. The pilot of the aircraft made several questionable decisions during the landing, resulting in the aircraft turning over after running off the end of the runway.

www.newsairshow.com...

airshowstuff.com...




posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:31 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


Do you agree with him being dismissed? How many "errors" does one get before they are deemed unsafe?



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:37 PM
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a reply to: iTruthSeeker

It depends on what kind of errors you're talking about. I've seen fatal crashes that didn't see a Team commander relieved. But in this case, based on the accident report, there was an environment around the team that was potentially going to lead to a really bad accident.

Just going by the accident report and the little that's been released, yes, I absolutely agree. I saw something at the Fairchild air show that I never saw before. They wound up flying both backup aircraft, after two aircraft broke after they taxied. That combined with the June accident points to a relaxed environment. For most units, that's a good thing. For a demonstration team, that's a disaster looking for a place to happen.



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:43 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Them breaking down doesn't surprise me much. I remember when we hosted the Blue Angels in Jacksonville. They pulled them in the hanger and promptly pushed 55 gallon drums under to catch the leaking fuel. Those birds were old turds. You would think the elite flying squadron of the Navy would have the best aircraft, nope they get the old beat down work horses.

Our helicopters leaked hydrolic fluid like it was no ones buisness. We used to say if it ain't leaking, it ain't got no fluid.
edit on 29-11-2017 by FauxMulder because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 05:47 PM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

They are, and the stress of the show makes it worse. But as much care as they lavish on them when they're not flying keeps them in good shape for the shows. I've seen one aircraft break before, but I've never seen them start a show one aircraft short and have it join them almost halfway through the show.

If you do the Boneyard tour there are several previous Thunderbirds aircraft sitting on saw horses. They were too bent by flying show after show to do anything but retire them. That's why they get older aircraft.
edit on 11/29/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yea, that's pretty sad. I think people don't realize how old some of our aircraft are though. I was on SH60's, the Bravo version. We had a det go on a carrier and the maintenance chief of the carriers HS squadron got a look at our birds hydrolic bay and freaked out. His squadron had the Romeo version of the H60 and didn't have the leaky problems like us. Long story short he made them change the lines and pumps before he would let them leave. 30 min after they finished it was covered in fluid again.

Despite the many, many, many shortcummings of those old things, we took good care of them and never had a mishap in the 4 years I was there.

As far as this guy being relieved, I hope this move improves things for them.



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Bum News. Much going on today that the average person will never know about and new players being put into place.



posted on Nov, 29 2017 @ 11:07 PM
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a reply to: FauxMulder

We had an EC-135 like that. I swear to God half its book of writeups had CND for the resolution. They'd take it out, write it up again, get another CND, wash, rinse, repeat.



posted on Nov, 30 2017 @ 01:03 AM
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Its is a bit shocking to say the least. The Thunderbirds are an elite unit so you would expect that the Commander would be the best of the best.

I'm starting to wonder if the never ending wars, the increased op tempo everywhere else, and the disastrous budget sequester is starting to show in the forms of obvious equipment issues, as well as qualified personnel leaving and the services perhaps not having the pick of the litter for command slots?

The USN has shown already its having issues, The Marines as well. I love airshows and I love both demonstration teams, but perhaps its time for a general stand down of all non essential activities and start fixing the issues



posted on Nov, 30 2017 @ 03:32 AM
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a reply to: FredT

That would mean that people would have to admit there is a problem.

No one likes doing that, as it spreads the light of uncertainty and makes the public question just how safe we really are, and puts a damper on new recruits joining.

Problems? What problems, the show must go on!



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 08:54 PM
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The team announced that Lt. Col Kevin Walsh, who was named the interim commander, and was scheduled to leave the team during the off season, will command them for the 2018 season. He served as the Operations Officer for the 2016-2017 seasons, flying Thunderbird 7.

airshowstuff.com...




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