Commander Dave Koss, commanding officer of the Navy’s venerable Blue Angels flight demonstration team, has voluntarily stepped down after taking his four-man team too close to the flight deck during a Barrel Roll Break manoeuvre.
In the video below from the Lynchburg Regional Airshow, you can see how the manoeuvre is designed to unfold (first minute of video), and how it is not, with two of the pilots violently aborting the roll at what appears to be mere feet from the deck (latter part of the second half).
This all went down on May 22. On Friday, Cmdr. Koss stepped down, saying,
“With deep personal regret … I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team. I performed a manoeuvre that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude. This manoeuvre, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organisation that it is, led to my decision to step down.”
The move is highly unprecedented, and all future Blue Angels appearances and shows have been cancelled as the team regroups at its Pensacola, Florida home base for training under its new commander, Navy Captain Greg McWhertor. [Christian Science Monitor]