Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)
Vucano Market - US Navy Blue Angels Towels (Officially Licensed)

Smyrna Breaks Ground On Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial For Fallen Blue Angel Pilot

posted in: Jet Teams, Miscellaneous | 0

The construction of a memorial to honor a fallen Blue Angel has begun.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed on June 2nd, 2016 when his Blue Angels jet crashed during a Thursday afternoon practice demonstration in Tennessee. In his memory, the town of Smyrna plans to erect a permanent memorial.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held October 18th, was the first step in getting the memorial built.

As part of the memorial, a Blue Angels F/A-18C hornet will be on permanent display outside the airport adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the community came together the night of the crash to remember Kuss.

If you want to donate, visit www.captjeffkussusmcmemorial.com. You can purchase a paver or donate money. As of late October, 78% of the money needed to build the memorial has been raised. All or part of your gift may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

Here’s video from the groundbreaking ceremony.

Visitors to the Cleveland National Airshow this past Labor Day weekend were treated to a special sight – a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and World War II-era F4U Corsair flying together! The pair performed several formation flybys before landing, then taxied together at show center and folded their wings to show their common bond as carrier-based fighters. Check out the entire performance in our video above!

This sort of sight used to be fairly commonplace through the US Navy Tailhook Legacy Flight program, which is similar to the US Air Force’s Heritage Flight program. Unfortunately the budget cuts of recent years stopped not only the Legacy Flights, but also the Hornet demonstrations themselves. As the TACDEMO teams return to full prominence on the airshow circuit, there is hope that these formations can again be flown regularly.

Don’t forget to also watch our video of the full Super Hornet aerobatic demonstration from Cleveland!

Blue Angels Announce 2018 Officers, Including New Demo Pilots

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

US Navy Blue Angels

Two new F/A-18 Hornet demonstration pilots, a C-130 demonstration pilot, a maintenance officer, and a public affairs officer will be joining the elite Blue Angels team in 2018. These new officers will fill the shoes of the existing team members who are wrapping up their tour of duty when the 2017 airshow season ends. Also joining the Blue Angels is 2018 is a new commanding officer, Cmdr. Eric Doyle. He will take over for Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi.

Here’s some information on all the new team members:

F/A-18 Hornet Demonstration Pilots:
Marine Maj. Jeffrey Mullins, 30, of Memphis, Tennessee, is an F/A-18 Hornet pilot currently assigned to Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 31. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2006.

Navy Lt. Andre Webb, 31, of Lawton, Oklahoma, is an F/A-18 Hornet pilot and 2008 US Naval Academy graduate currently assigned to the “Golden Eagles” of Training Squadron (VT) 22 based in Kingsville, TX.

Maj.-MullinsLt. Webb

C-130 Demonstration Pilot:
Marine Capt. Beau Mabery, 28, of Lompoc, California, is a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2011.

Maintenance Officer:
Navy Lt. Garrett Hopkins, 38, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a maintenance officer currently assigned to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Detachment (SFWPD) Fallon. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2009.

Public Affairs Officer:
Navy Lt. David Gardner, 36, of Warrensburg, Missouri, is a public affairs officer currently assigned to the USS Makin Island (LHD 8). He graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2003.

Capt.-MaberyLt.-Hopkins

Lt.-Gardner

All of the officers were recommended by Rear Adm. James Bynum, chief of Naval Air Training and approved by Commander of Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker. Join us in welcoming them to the team and wishing them the best for a safe 2018 season!

Member Of US Navy Leap Frogs Killed After Parachute Malfunction At New York Fleet Week

posted in: Airshows, Parachute Team | 0
US Navy Leap Frog Remington Peters
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Bram

UPDATE 5/29/17: The fallen Leap Frog has been identified as Special Warfare Operator First Class Remington Peters. He was 27 years old.

US Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team

ORIGINAL POST: A member of the US Navy “Leap Frogs” parachute team has died after an incident near New York City just after noon today. The team was performing as part of Fleet Week New York, and was jumping into Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. During the jump, one team member’s parachute malfunctioned and he fell into the water after cutting away from it. It is unclear at what altitude this occurred and if he attempted to open his reserve canopy.

The jumper was immediately retrieved from the water and taken to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead at 1:10pm. The name of the jumper is being withheld so that next of kin can be notified, but we will update this post when it is released.

Our thoughts go out to all of the Leap Frogs as they mourn their teammate.

Colorado Highway Named In Honor Of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel #6

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0
Colorado Highway Renamed Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway
Courtesy: CDOT/Navy

A new sign now stands as an honor to fallen Blue Angel #6. Colorado Highway 3 just outside of Durango has been renamed as the Capt. Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway in honor of the Marine pilot. The announcement comes nearly a year after the tragic accident in Smyrna, TN in which Kuss lost his life.

The resolution, brought forward by Rep. Barbara McLachlan who represents the district of Durango where Kuss resided, was formally read before the chambers of the Legislature of Colorado and passed in both the House and Senate with all members joining as co-sponsors. McLachlan said that she sees the resolution as “a tribute to Kuss, his family, and veterans across the state.”

Five members of Kuss’ family who live in Colorado were present in the House of Legislature for the announcement of the resolution.

The town of Smyrna, TN, where the accident occurred is also working to honor Kuss by building a memorial. They have raised half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial but help is needed to complete the project. Click here for more information on how you can help.

“Naked” Fat Albert Returns To Flying Following Major Overhaul

posted in: Jet Teams | 2

"Naked" Fat Albert Takes Flight After Overhaul

One of our fans sent in these photos of Fat Albert looking decidedly naked a few days ago. The Blue Angels’ famous C-130 Hercules has been undergoing major repairs at Hill AFB in Utah for months, but the aircraft is clearly airworthy again, and we’re told new blue, gold, and white paint is being applied this week. That’s surely a good sign!

"Naked" Fat Albert Takes Flight After Overhaul

Bert was previously expected to resume airshow demonstrations by now, but the latest rumors put the return to performing in early June. Although the aircraft is flying and being readied for its return to service, the all-Marine crew will need to complete their annual training before performing. In the mean time, they have been borrowing a standard KC-130, known as “Ernie”, to fulfill the team’s transportation needs.

Photo credit: Photos by DOPEY

US Air Force Thunderbirds Visit US Navy Blue Angels In Pensacola For Joint Training, Formation Photo Flight

posted in: Jet Teams, Popular Posts | 1

US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels Group Photo

Jet team fans in Florida got a rare treat last week when the US Air Force Thunderbirds popped in for a visit with the US Navy Blue Angels and their home base in Pensacola. The two teams rarely cross paths during the airshow season, but do try to arrange some time together each year to learn from one another and pass on knowledge.

US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue AngelsUS Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels

This year, the Thunderbirds took advantage of some convenient timing and stopped at NAS Pensacola between their shows at nearby Tyndall AFB and Lake Charles, LA. They received a warm welcome from their Navy counterparts, and during the three days together the team members swapped best practices and bonded through many different activities.

US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue AngelsUS Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels

On Tuesday, each team performed a full routine over the base and two pilots from each team were able to ride with their counterparts. The Blue Angels are famous for not wearing G-suits, and you can rest assured that Thunderbirds #1 and #5 did not wear any during their ride either. Blue Angels #1 and #4, however, did accept the offered G-suits for their ride in the F-16 Fighting Falcon, since it can pull more Gs than the Hornet.

US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue AngelsUS Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels

The maintenance and support crews got in on the fun as well, and the public affairs officers from each team ‘took over’ the other team’s Instagram account, and documented the visit with many video clips and photos. Among the coolest photos taken were several group shots of the combined teams. The joint training concluded with a double formation photo flight over the surrounding area, offering the Thunderbirds a chance the “buzz the beach”, the typical Blue Angel practice upon returning home from a show. The photo flight did have a hiccup when some turbulence caused two Blue Angel Hornets to make mid-air contact, but the highly trained pilots recovered quickly and ensured a safe outcome.

You can see more of the incredible photos and videos from this event in our forum thread: 2017 US Navy Blue Angels/USAF Thunderbirds Joint Training

Officially Licensed US Navy Blue Angel Beach Towels (Sponsored)

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

US Navy Blue Angels Beach Towel - Vulcano America

We here at Airshowstuff would like to welcome our newest sponsor – Vulcano America!

Vulcano is the only source for officially licensed US Navy Blue Angel beach towels! They offer these high-quality towels on their own website as well as other internet outlets such as Amazon, eBay, and Overstock.com.

These towels are the best way to show off your love of the Blue Angels during one of the many beach airshows this year! Two sizes are available, each with a design depicting the famous blue and gold jets. We’ll be promoting them with a small banner above our blog posts – make sure you snag one before hitting the beach this summer!

Please join us in thanking Vulcano America for their support. AirshowStuff is run by a small group of passionate aviation fans in our free time, and support like this allows us to continue bringing you awesome videos, photos, and news items! If you’re interested in sponsoring some of our efforts, please let us know!

US Navy Blue Angels Beach Towel - Vulcano America

Disney World Visitors Treated To Blue Angel Flyovers

posted in: Flyovers, Jet Teams | 0
US Navy Blue Angels - Walt Disney World Flyover
Photo: Walt Disney World

Visitors to Walt Disney World got a special treat today when the US Navy Blue Angels performed a pair of flyovers above the Magic Kingdom park. The six-ship delta formation flew down Main Street USA before performing a Delta Breakout over the iconic Cinderella Castle. Photos of the flyby were all over social media following the flight; the appearance clearly thrilled the crowds below.

The team performed a similar flyover in 2015 while transiting from NAS Pensacola to Melbourne, FL for an airshow. This year they were on their way to the massive Sun ‘n Fun airshow in nearby Lakeland, FL. We live-streamed their practice over on the AirshowStuff Facebook page after their arrival there.

US Navy Blue Angels Announce Commanding Officer For 2018-2019 Seasons

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

US Navy Blue Angels - F/A-18 Hornet

Meet the next Boss! The US Navy Blue Angels announced this week that Commander Eric “Popeye” Doyle has been selected to lead the team for the 2018 and 2019 airshow seasons. He will take over the reigns from the current Blue Angel #1, Commander Ryan Bernacchi, at a change of command ceremony in November.

Cmdr. Doyle was one of six finalists for the position, and was introduced at a press conference in Pensacola on Tuesday. He is originally from League City, TX and is a graduate of Texas A&M. Popeye is currently stationed at NAS Lemoore in California where he commands VFA-113 “Stingers”, a squadron of F/A-18E Super Hornets. He will serve a two-year tour as Flight Leader and Commanding Officer of the legendary squadron before returning to the fleet.

“This was a childhood dream come true,” Doyle was quoted as saying. “My motivation to become a pilot came from watching the Blue Angels.”

Welcome to the team, Popeye!

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