Turkish Stars NF-5 Jet Crashes During Training Flight At Konya Air Base Killing Pilot

File photo of a Turkish Stars NF-5A-2000. (Image credit: Author)

An NF-5 of the Turkish Air Force aerobatic display team Turkish Stars” has crashed at Konya.

An NF-5 aircraft, belonging to the Turkish Air Force demonstration team “Türk Yıldızları” (Turkish Stars) crashed on Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2021, in the central province of Konya. The pilot died in the incident, the Turkish Ministry of Nation Defense confirmed on social media.

According to the Turkish authorities, the NF-5A Freedom Fighter crashed at 14.15LT, during a training flight. The reasons of the incident are being investigated.

Based at 3rd Main Jet Base Command Konya, an airfield in the Central Anatolia region, famous for being the headquarters of the Anatolian Eagle exercise series, the Turkish Air Force demo team was formed on Nov. 7, 1992 and was named the Turkish Stars on Jan. 11, 1993. The team has a full squadron status and is designated the 134 Akrotim Filo (134th Aerobatic Team Squadron). The team has always flown the NF-5 Freedom Fighter. The first display, with four aircraft took place on Jun. 19, 1993; since 2004, the show is carried out with 8 aircraft.

The jets assigned to the team are Canadair NF-5 fighter planes obtained from the Royal Netherlands Air Force and modified for the display role: the modifications include the removal of the guns and chaff/flare dispensers, changes to the cockpit, and conversion of the typical wingtip fuel tanks to become part of the smoke system. Beginning in 2010, the single seater NF-5A and two-seater NF-5B aircraft underwent the NF-5-2000 life extension upgrade: they are currently designated NF-5A-2000 and NF-5B-2000. Although the team performs with jets, the team can count on a number of aircraft between 12 and 16 (with 10 being the single seaters).

A Turkish Stars NF-5A taxies at Konya in 2014. The livery of the team was changed in 2013. (Image credit: Author)
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David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.