The Navy’s famous flight team, the Blue Angles, flew too low during an air show over the skies of Lynchburg, Virginia last week. Exactly how low is too low? The Navy has not said.
However, it has cost the leader of the Blue Angels, Navy Commander Dave Koss, his job.
“With deep personal regret I shared with my command today that I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team. I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude. This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organization that it is, led to my decision to step down. I have the utmost respect for the Sailors and Marines of the Blue Angels organization and all that they embody. The reason this team is so successful, brings thrills to millions of fans across America, and represents the U.S. Navy so superbly is because of the absolute commitment to safety and perfection by every member of the team. I am honored to have been a part of this organization and I look forward to watching its success in the future.” Koss said in a statement released by the Navy.
The performance in Lynchburg was cut short after the lower than it should have been flight. All six F/A-18 Hornets landed safely after the incident. Reports indicate that four of the jets flew in a diamond formation below their specified altitude. The Blue Angels announced on Monday that the team have a safety stand-down for an indefinite time. Shows planned for the US Naval Academy’s graduation on Friday, and a Memorial Day weekend event in New Jersey, have been cancelled.
Former Blue Angel’s Commander Greg McWherter will be replacing Koss for the remainder of this season. Shows in Rockford Airfest on June 4th and 5th, and at the Evansville Freedom Festival Air Show June 11th and 12th, have also been cancelled.