Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blue Angels’ chief screws up, steps down

The commanding officer of the elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team stepped down Friday after a making a “lower-than-normal maneuver” during a recent air show, the Navy said. Because the team has been grounded since the May 22 incident in Lynchburg, Va., its performances at the Rockford Airfest next weekend and an air show in Evansville, Ind., on June 11-12 were canceled. “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,” Koss wrote in a statement released by Naval Air Forces. “This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard . . . led to my decision to step down.” Koss will be replaced by Capt. Greg McWherter, previous commanding officer of the Blue Angels, for the rest of the season. The commanding officer is assigned to the No. 1 jet in demonstrations. Koss, who assumed command of the Blue Angels in November, is a 1991 Naval Academy graduate and veteran naval aviator with more than 3,000 flight hours and 740 arrested landings on carriers. He took part in late 1990s flight operations over Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina and flew missions over Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003.

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