Tennessee – An F/A-18 fighter jet crashed near Nashville on June 02, 2016. The pilot died during the accident, but so far, authorities have not made an official statement unveiling the identity of the fatal victim. The man was the only victim in the incident as no bystanders were nearby.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said they were investigating the cause of the incident, so they will give no details until the situation is cleared.
“The mission of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach,” says the Blue Angels’ Motto.
— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) June 3, 2016
The best of the best
The Blue Angels is the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squad, formed by 6 members chosen from the Navy and the Marines’ aces. The squad was first assembled in 1946 with the intention of raising the interest of North American citizens in the military, and entertaining them with an incredible display of skill and power. After a couple of years, they became a tradition. In modern days, the Angels perform all across the United States with around 70 shows a year. According to statistics, about 11 million people watches their demonstrations every year with at least 50,000 people watching them live.
Nowadays, they fly McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets who were formerly used in combat. However, the planes were modified in order to serve as demonstration vessels; guns were replaced by smoke sprayers used in the shows, for example. These changes give the pilots little room for mistakes in a standard demonstration. Moreover, they cannot wear G-suits because the air bladder inside it would interfere with the control stick. These suits help the body to keep the blood from rushing to the head, so what do Blue Angels do to avoid passing out? Well, they tense their muscles.
— Nicholas Augusta (@naugusta) June 3, 2016
Self-Control is the key while flying
For a person to have such a control over his own body while making tricks in the air with a flying war machine, a lot of training is needed. Applying for these squad is particularly difficult because precision and coordination are everything. If a pilot wants to be part of the ‘Blues,’ they need at least 1,250 tactical jet hours and be carrier-qualified. For Marine Corps C-130 demonstration aces, the requirements are 1,200 flight hours and the rank of aircraft commander.
With those qualifications, it is no wonder official authorities want to investigate what was the cause of the accident before they release the details to the public, but they cannot avoid leaks of information. According to non-official sources, the marine who died at the accident was Capt. Jeff Kuss from Durango California. He joined the Blues in 2014 and was 31 years old.