Thursday, June 2nd, ago was one of the darkest days in recent memory for the Navy and Air Force flight demonstration teams. The Blue Angels have suspended their schedule after the tragic loss of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. They announced, during an emotional memorial service, that their first show back would be for their home town crowd of Pensacola FL, perhaps as soon as July 16th for the Pensacola Beach Air Show
The pilot of Thunderbirds F-16, Maj. Alex Turner, ejected safely from his stricken aircraft following the annual flyover commemorating the graduation ceremonies at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO. The initial report was that the engine failed during landing leading to the successful ejection. The formal investigation is unfolding and will hopefully yield actionable information to improve safety.
A week later, Thursday June 9th, a pilot in the Russian flight demonstration team ejected from his Su-27. The Russian news agency, TASS reported that Major Sergey Yeremenko ejected after he suffered an inflight stroke (http://tass.ru/en/society/881612). The team was returning, somewhat ironically, from overflying a ceremony at the opening for a monument to aviators.
In all three mishaps the pilots demonstrated a great degree of professionalism, including eyewitness reports that both Capt. Kuss and Major Yeremenko took great pains to avoid civilians on the ground.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to get 3 months of full ad-free access for only $1