Thunderbirds Add Pilot to Replace Officer Killed in Crash

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform during the "Wings Over Columbus" air show Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Miss., Saturday, April 5, 2014.  (AP Photo/ AL.com, Mark Almond)
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform during the "Wings Over Columbus" air show Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Miss., Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/ AL.com, Mark Almond)

LAS VEGAS — A veteran U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot is returning to the aerial demonstration team to replace a colleague who died during a training flight three weeks ago.

An Air Force statement said Thursday that while Maj. Nick Krajicek requalifies, the six-member team has canceled plans to appear at air shows this weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, and next weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz at Nellis Air Force Base confirmed that Krajicek is returning to the Thunderbird 4 slot position he held in 2016 and 2017.

The Air Force is investigating the April 4 crash of an F-16 Fighting Falcon that killed Maj. Stephen Del Bagno in the remote Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas.

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