Air Force fires Thunderbirds commander - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Air Force fires Thunderbirds commander

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - The Air Force has fired the leader of the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team that experienced a crash at an Ohio airshow.

Air Force officials said Wednesday Lt. Col. Jason Heard's firing was unrelated to the June mishap in Dayton that destroyed a $29 million fighter jet.

The Air Force says his commanding officer "lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style."

Heard's commanding officer says it was a difficult decision, but ultimately one that is in the best interests of the team. His removal was effective Nov. 20.

Heard was overseeing the unit when an F-16D jet ran off the runway and flipped over at Dayton International Airport on June 23. Officials say excessive speed and landing without enough stopping distance led to the crash.

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