Thunderbird pilot killed in crash identified as experienced flyer

Thunderbird pilot killed in crash identified as experienced flyer

The Air Power Thunderbirds pilot who died in a fighter jet crash on Wednesday has been recognized as an skilled flyer who labored as a advisor on the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who joined the Thunderbirds this season, was alone in a F-16 Preventing Falcon when it crashed within the Nevada desert exterior Las Vegas on Wednesday morning.

The reason for the crash is below investigation, and the unit, recognized for performing daring aerial tips and formations, canceled an look at a California air present this weekend.

“We’re mourning the lack of Maj. Del Bagno,” mentioned Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Power Base.

“He was an integral a part of the crew, and our hearts are heavy together with his loss. We ask everybody to supply his household and buddies the area to heal throughout this tough time.”

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird four/Slot Pilot, left, and Employees Sgt. Michael Meister, Thunderbird four Devoted Crew Chief throughout a apply present at Nellis Air Power Base final month.  (Grasp Sgt. Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Power Photograph through AP)

Del Bagno, of Valencia, Calif., graduated from Utah State College and labored as a flight teacher, company pilot, skywriter, and banner tow pilot earlier than he joined the Air Power, in accordance with his Thunderbirds bio.

He logged greater than three,500 flight hours, a couple of third of which he accomplished as an Air Power pilot.

He additionally labored as a advisor on Captain Marvel, a superhero movie slated for 2019 starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jude Legislation amongst many others.

Marvel Studios launched a tribute to Del Bagno on Thursday evening, saying, “We’ll miss him significantly; he’ll all the time be a part of the crew.”

We misplaced a pal yesterday. Marvel Studios is saddened to listen to of the lack of Air Power Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who we have been fortunate to get to know throughout his time as a advisor on Captain Marvel. We’ll miss him significantly; he’ll all the time be a part of the crew.— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 6, 2018

I’m so unhappy. May have extra to say tomorrow. We miss you Cajun. 💔— Brie Larson (@brielarson) April 6, 2018

Deeply saddened to study of the lack of Thunderbirds pilot Maj. Stephen Del Bagno. I had the distinction to satisfy Maj. Del Bagno once I visited @NellisAFB in January…(half of)— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 6, 2018

The Thunderbirds are greater than the Air Power’s demonstration crew — to us, they’re household. As we mourn the lack of our Airman, our hearts are with the pilot’s household, buddies and Wingmen. https://t.co/8Zh9Iy4fTL— U.S. Air Power (@usairforce) April 5, 2018

Larson additionally used Del Bagno’s name signal and tweeted, “I am so unhappy. May have extra to say tomorrow. We miss you Cajun.”

Del Bagno shook palms with Mike Pence throughout a go to to the bottom in January, and the Vice President issued a press release saying he was “deeply saddened” to listen to the information.

“He was a brave pilot & an inspiring American whose service won’t ever be forgotten. Will likely be praying for his household, buddies and fellow Thunderbirds throughout this tough time.”

The crash on Wednesday got here lower than 24 hours after a Marine helicopter crash killed all 4 crew members on board. It was additionally the third accident involving the Thunderbirds since 2016.