WICHITA FALLS, Texas – U.S. Air Force investigators have confirmed that a bird strike caused an $8 million jet to crash in Texas during a training flight in July.
Two pilots suffered minor injuries when they ejected from the T-38 Talon before it plummeted to the ground south of Sheppard Air Force Base and burst into flames.
Maj. Christopher Thompson was instructing a member of the German Air Force at the time. They were part of the base's Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. The program trains students from nine NATO countries.
Sheppard officials said Tuesday the bird struck the jet's canopy, shattering it and sending fragments into an engine that then failed.
The incident was compounded by the pilots' attempts to execute a turn that increased drag. The jet lost airspeed, then stalled.