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After Tragic Crash, Blue Angels Resume Air Show Training

The Navy‘s elite flight demonstration team took to the sky again Thursday morning, just two weeks after a soloist was killed in a tragic crash during air show practice in Tennessee.

The Blue Angels announced it would fly its first training flight over
downtown Pensacola and Pensacola Beach, Florida, not far from the
squadron’s headquarters at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The team will fly the iconic blue-and-yellow F/A-18C Hornets in a five-aircraft “Big V” formation, officials said in a press release.

Missing will be Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, pilot of the No. 6 aircraft, who died in the June 2 crash.

In the wake of the crash, the Blue Angels briefly halted its busy summer schedule to allow time to mourn Kuss and to investigate the cause of the crash, canceling scheduled appearances in Syracuse, New York, June 11-12 and in Dayton, Ohio, June 18-19.

To date, no other air show appearances have been canceled, Blue Angels public affairs officer Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer LeBron told Military.com. The next show on the schedule is the Vero Beach Air Show in Vero Beach, Florida, set for June 25-26.

“Right now, we are practicing to make the next show,” LeBron said.

No replacement has been announced for Kuss. The Blue Angels website still displays his photo and biography. LeBron said it wasn’t clear when the Blue Angels might return to a six-aircraft formation or if they planned to do so before the end of this season.

“It’s something that’s possible, absolutely,” LeBron said of continuing to train and perform in five-aircraft formations. “Right now, the next couple of flights we’re flying in a ‘Big V.’ ”

According to an announcement from the team, today’s training flight began around 10:30 a.m. The formation flew over Perdido Key toward Pensacola Beach, then over downtown Pensacola before returning to the air station.

The cause of the fatal June 2 crash has yet to be announced. It happened shortly after takeoff during a training flight two days ahead of the Great Tennessee Airshow in Smyrna, Tennessee. The Federal Aviation Administration and the military continue to investigate the incident.

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