F-16 crashes during US air show

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The Independent US

The pilot of an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon who died in a fiery crash at a weekend air show had more than 10 years' experience as a pilot, including 130 combat sorties.

The jet piloted by Maj. Brison Phillips crashed Sunday while he was performing aerobatic maneuvers as part of Air Show 2000 near Kingsville Naval Air Station.

Phillips, 35, was a member of the 78th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter, South Carolina, and commander of the Ninth Air Force Demonstration Team, said Senior Airman Christopher Moore, a Shaw spokesman.

He had more than 2,600 flight hours and 2,300 hours in the F-16, Moore said. Phillips had also flown recent combat missions in Iraq and Bosnia.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday, Phillips' plane slammed into a field, scattering debris for half a mile, said Navy Master Chief Jim Rostohar of Kingsville's air station.

Rostohar said a member of Phillips' demonstration team said he crashed about six miles (10 kilometers) north of the naval base while performing a maneuver called a split-S, or a vertical turnaround.

"It looked as if he was trying to get the nose up," Rostohar said.

An Air Force investigative team was expected to arrive at the scene today.

The rest of the air show, which was scheduled to include a performance by the Blue Angels, was canceled. Kingsville is about 30 miles southwest of Corpus Christi.