Navy: Pilot error primary cause of fatal Blue Angels crash

Photo Credit: WKRN
Photo Credit: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Pilot error is the primary cause of the Blue Angels jet crash that happened in Smyrna earlier this year, the U.S. Navy reports.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was flying a F/A-18C on June 2 ahead of the Great Tennessee Airshow when he crashed that afternoon. He died at the scene and the plane was destroyed.

Video shows seconds before Blue Angel crash

According to the Navy report, Kuss started a maneuver known as the “Split S” at the wrong altitude. He was travelling too low and too fast and did not have enough time to correct himself.

PHOTOS: U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet crash

“Capt. Kuss did not attempt any type of dive recovery procedure and he unsuccessfully ejected from the aircraft too late,” reads the report.

It went on to say that the crash had nothing to do with material failure of the jet, and the primary cause of the mishap was pilot error with weather and fatigue as contributing factors.

Kuss reportedly showed signs of fatigue earlier that day.

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.

The Blue Angels flight leader described him as “truly one of the absolute finest Americans this country can produce.”

The Navy also said Kuss “represented the best and brightest of Naval Aviation. His professionalism, expertise, and love of flying made him a valued member of the Blue Angels and the United States Marine Corps.”

Several recommendations for the Blue Angels have been made following the crash, including a suspension of the “Split S” maneuver until it can be reviewed by officials.

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