Navy: Pilot Error Primary Cause of Fatal Blue Angels Crash

A member of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team killed during practice in Tennessee lost control of his fighter jet because it was traveling too fast and then failed to recover because it was too low for the maneuver he was performing, a Navy invest

TENNESSEE (AP) - A member of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team killed during practice in Tennessee lost control of his fighter jet because it was traveling too fast and then failed to recover because it was too low for the maneuver he was performing, a Navy investigation shows.

A report cited pilot error as the primary cause of the crash that claimed the life of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss while he was preparing for an air show June 2 in Smyrna, outside Nashville.

The report, released Thursday, said Kuss' jet was traveling too fast and too low as he transitioned from a high-performance climb into a Split-S maneuver, a 180-degree turn that involves inverting the aircraft and then making a half-loop to go in the opposite direction at a lower altitude.

The plane tumbled from the sky, crashed and burst into flames. The report cited pilot fatigue and cloudy weather as contributing factors.

Kuss, a native of Durango, Colorado, had a wife and two young children. He had logged nearly 1,700 hours of flying time and had served in Afghanistan.


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