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Blue Angels flight leader relieved of command for flying too low

In a highly unusual step, Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss was removed as commander of the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Flying with the Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds is highly demanding, and there have been accidents over the years.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration squadron performs at the 2010 Wings Over Homestead Air Show in Homestead, Florida last November. Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss was relieved as commanding officer after performing a dangerous maneuver. Several air shows have been cancelled.


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The commanding officer of the Blue Angels – the US Navy’s flight demonstration team – has been relieved of command for performing dangerously low maneuvers.

In a highly unusual step, Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss announced Friday that “with deep personal regret … I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team.”

"I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude,” Cmdr. Koss said in a statement. "This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organization that it is, led to my decision to step down."

Based in Pensacola, Fla., the Blue Angels fly approximately 70 shows a year between March and November. Most air shows are in the United States, although the team has performed in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, the United Kingdom, Romania, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands.


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