40 Years Ago: USAF Thunderbirds Plane Crash at Cheyenne Frontier Days
The annual United States Air Force Thunderbirds air show in Cheyenne was grounded today due to inclement weather. Conditions were eerily similar 40 years ago this week, when a United States Air Force Thunderbirds pilot was killed after his plane crashed at Frontier Park on July 25, 1977.
Captain Charlie Carter was attempting to gain his altitude after a thwarted landing at Cheyenne Regional Airport when he his T-38 Talon jet lost control and landed in the bullpen. Tragically, Carter ejected too late and fell onto a concession stand. Two bulls were also killed during the accident.
Carter's co-pilot, Staff Sargent Ted Foster ejected into the rodeo arena and escaped with only minor injuries. A 16-year-old boy also suffered a broken arm when he was struck by debris from the plane.
The air show has been a Cheyenne Frontier Days tradition since 1953. The Thunderbirds had another close call during their 2011 performance when a plane was forced to make an emergency landing. In 2013, the exhibition was called off due to budget cuts.