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Blue Angels flight team told to stop aerial maneuver after crash probe

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, 30, of Durango, Colorado, part of the Navy Fight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, is pictured in Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, in this July 30, 2014 handout photo.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight exhibition team has been ordered to stop using the so-called Split-S maneuver during its shows until further notice after an investigation into a crash that killed a top Marine Corps pilot this summer.

A Navy investigation report released Thursday found that Captain Jeffrey Kuss performed the maneuver on June 2 in his F/A-18C aircraft during practice at Smyrna, Tennessee, at a lower-than-standard altitude, possibly because of low clouds.

The combat maneuver involves rolling upside down then diving in a half-loop until the plane is flying in the opposite direction horizontally.

Blue Angels operating procedures call for the maneuver to be performed at a minimum altitude of 3,500 feet above the ground at a speed between 125 and 135 knots, the report said.

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