SCV News | U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds Pilot, Saugus High Grad Killed in Training Flight
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Slot Pilot Thunderbird 4, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, a graduate of Saugus High School, was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range April 4, 2018 at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight.
“We are mourning the loss of Major Del Bagno,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander. “He was an integral part of our team and our hearts are heavy with his loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”
An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap.
The team’s participation at the March Air Reserve Base “The March Field Air & Space Expo” has been cancelled. It is unknown how this accident will impact the remainder of the 2018 Thunderbirds Season.
According to the Thunderbird website, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno is the Slot Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 4 jet. He is a 2005 graduate of Utah Valley State University, and commissioned from Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Ala. in 2007.
Before joining the Air Force, Del Bagno was a civilian flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter, and a banner tow pilot.
He enjoys snowboarding, water sports and spending time with family and friends. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Del Bagno served as an F-35A Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
He has logged more than 3,500 total flight hours in over 30 different aircraft, with 1,400 hours as an Air Force pilot. Del Bagno is in his first season with the team and hails from Valencia, Calif.(c) 2018 SCVTV