Thunderbirds Grounded After Chicago Airshow Mishap - August 22, 2005

August 22, 2005 6:59 a.m. EST

Hector Duarte Jr. - All Headline News Staff Reporter
Chicago, IL (AHN) - Chicago's Air and Water Show ended a few minutes early and did not feature a much-awaited crowd favorite: the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

The unit's performance was cut short Saturday after two F-16 Fighting Falcons touched wingtips during a fly-by over North Atlantic Beach, prompting the squadron to cancel their grand finale and halt the rest of their summer tour until Air Force investigators can pinpoint exactly what went wrong.

The collision took place as the fighter jets were in diamond formation, traveling at approximately 350 mph. The right wing and slot planes touched, sending a four-foot section of missile rail into Lake Michigan. In combat, the missile rail would hold ammunition. The rail landed in a 'safety box,' away from boaters and people on shore.
Following the incident, both planes safely returned to Gary/Chicago International Airport. As of Sunday, the extent of the damage and cause of collision were unclear.

This was the first accident involving two Thunderbirds since 1999, when two F-16's, also in diamond formation, collided during an air show in Florida.

It is yet unclear if future Thunderbirds shows will be canceled."
I love airshows and was kinda looking forward to the Hillsboro one, even though the Blue Angels aren't featured.