On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Navy’s “Blue Angel #6” Captain Jeff Kuss tragically crashed his F/A-18 Hornet during a training flight over central Tennessee. The incident occurred just after takeoff from the Smyrna, Tennessee, Airport about two miles from the runway. The other five pilots were able to safely land just after the incident.
Captain Kuss became a Blue Angel in September 2014, and previously served as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was well decorated, earning such honors as the Strike Flight Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year Robert M. Hanson Award. Throughout his service, Capt. Kuss had clocked more than 1,400 flight hours. At the time of Capt. Jeff Kuss’s death, the pilot was just 32 years old. He is survived by his wife Christina and their two children.
Here’s Capt. Kuss, in his own words, discussing how and why he became a pilot, and expressing his deep passion for the job.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, the Navy will do a full investigation to determine the cause of the crash in an effort to prevent similar mishaps in the future. It has been over nine years since the Blue Angels have lost a member to similar circumstances. In April 2007, Lieutenant Commander Kevin J. Davis — who piloted the previous #6 aircraft — lost consciousness and crashed during an air show in South Carolina.
In honor of Captain Kuss, here is in-cockpit footage of him and his Blue Angels doing what they do best, as they perform a high-speed flyover for Superbowl 50. Fair winds and following seas, Captain Kuss. Long may your big jib draw!Whizzco