Blue Angels cancel Dayton Air Show appearance

U.S. Navy jet team was scheduled to headline 2016 Vectren Dayton Air Show this month.

A Navy Blue Angels fighter jet crashed in Smyrna, Tennessee, June 2, killing the pilot. The Blue Angels have canceled their June 18 appearance at the Dayton Air Show.

  • Pilot identified as Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss
  • Crash happened at start of afternoon practice

UPDATE @ 1:45 p.m. (June 7):

Dayton Air Show officials said it’s “with a heavy heart” they announce the Blue Angels will not be performing in the show this year.

But the air show has added several new acts, including the navy’s Hornet tactical demonstration team.

“(The navy’s) trying to help us because they know the loss of the Blue Angels to the air show,” said Roger Doctor, director of security for the air show.

UPDATE @ 10:47 a.m. (June 7):

The Blue Angels have cancelled Dayton Air Show appearance.

The Vectren Dayton Air Show will continue as planned on June 18-19 despite news the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will not be appearing due to an accident by one of their jets last week.

The Blues were one of 12 flying attractions scheduled to appear at the 42nd annual show.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel # 6 in Tennessee last week,” said Michael Emoff, United States Air and Trade Show Board of Trustees Chairman, in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Kuss’s family and the Blue Angel team members.”

The 2016 show will continue with a lineup of some of the nation’s top attractions including the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs and TORA! TORA! TORA!, a dramatic recreation of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Also appearing will be Hall of Famers Sean Tucker and Patty Wagstaff. In addition, Melissa Pemberton, the P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck”, the Wright B Flyer, a U.S. Coast Guard SAR Demonstration, P40 Warhawk and U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight will appear both Saturday and Sunday.

Over 24 military aircraft will be on display this year up from two in 2015.

UPDATE @ 3 p.m. (June 3):

The Navy Times is reporting that the Blue Angels have suspended flying until further notice as a result of Thursday’s fatal crash. The suspension doesn’t mean the Blue Angels will not resume their air show schedule this season, However, team members are returning home to Florida to regroup before deciding when to resume flying, the Navy Times reported.

The news comes as Mike Emoff, chairman of the board for the Dayton Air Show, was having a press conference to determine if the local event scheduled for later this month, will be affected.

“Sadly we sometimes have an ending like this,” he said, referring to the fatal crash. “Everyone that flies in the show understands the risks involved. We have not heard yet whether the Blue Angels will be flying at our air show.

“As soon as we know something we will let our community know,” he said. “It would be very unfortunate if the Blue Angels do not attend, but understandable.”

UPDATE @ 9:35 a.m. (June 3):

A Vectren Dayton Air Show official said they do not expect to release any statements about the performance of the Blue Angels at the Dayton show later this month until they receive information from the Blue Angels.

As soon as the air show releases a statement we will provide that information on this page.

INITIAL REPORT (June 2):

The Vectren Dayton Air Show is awaiting word on whether the crash of a Blue Angels F/A-18 jet in Tennessee today might affect the upcoming show at the Dayton International Airport, an airshow official said.

Terry Grevious, Dayton Air Show executive director, said it was “hard to say until we hear from them” about what impact the crash would have on the June 18-19 air show. One person was reportedly killed, according to an initial media report.

The elite Blue Angels demonstration team is scheduled to headline the air show.

“The fact that they did have an incident does potentially put the team in jeopardy for the Dayton show,” he said.

The show, however, will continue if the Blue Angels are unable to fly a performance in Dayton, he said.

According to the Navy, the pilot was taking off to start an afternoon practice near Smyrna, Tenn when a mishap occurred. The Blue Angels were practicing ahead of an air show this weekend. Witnesses reported seeing the plane go down but did not see the pilot eject.

The pilot killed was identified as Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.

Kuss, who joined the Blue Angels in September 2014, is a native of Durango, Colorado. He leaves behind a wife and two young children, family members said, WTVF reported.

Kuss accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours and earned numerous decorations, including the Strike Flight Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as well as individual and unit awards, the station reported.

He was interviewed on Blue Angel safety measures after a pilot was killed in the last crash in 2007 in South Carolina. “We do what’s called like a crawl, walk, run mentality where we start out very basic levels and it progresses and progresses until eventually it’s a flight demonstration in the form of an air show that you can deliver as a safe, homogeneous product all over the country. It’s all going to be relatively similar,” Kuss said, according to the WTVF report.

Download our free mobile apps for breaking news and weather alerts on your smartphone