Nine injured as GameBird GB1 crashes during Halcones aerobatic team training flight

SANTIAGO | A GameBird GB1 operated by the Chilean Air Force’s aerobatic team crashed in a residential area during a test flight on Saturday 7th September.

The aircraft crashed in Santiago’s El Bosque neighbourhood near El Bosque Air Base. Firefighters confirmed that eight people on the ground were injured in the crash, with one suffering minor burns and seven being hospitalised due to smoke inhalation.

The pilot was identified in a brief statement on the Halcones’ Facebook page as Cristobal Contreras, who has served with the team for several years. The team said he escaped “practically unharmed”, but local media report he suffered minor injuries to his head.

The Halcones are Chile’s national aerobatic team, formed in 1981 on the Pitts Special. The team later upgraded to the Extra 300L in 2003. In March 2019, the Halcones announced the team had selected the GameBird GB1 as their next aircraft, with the first delivery taking place in July this year.

The Halcones are not performing public displays this year while they transition to their new aircraft. They are expected to make their display debut with the GameBird at the FIDAE aerospace and defence show in Santiago on the 31st March-5th April 2020.

An investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched.