The commander of the famed flight squadron the Blue Angels stepped down Friday after part of the team of six jets flew below a minimum altitude at a recent air show.
Cmdr. Dave Koss, who has led the team since November, will be replaced by Capt. Greg McWherter, who was the previous commander of the team. The Blue Angels has canceled its scheduled performances next month and had to cancel its scheduled flyover Friday at the Naval Academy graduation, where Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered the commencement address.
"With deep personal regret, I shared with my command today that I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team," Koss said in a written statement. "I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude. This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organization that it is, led to my decision to step down."
On Sunday, the altitude problem involved four of the six F/A-18 Hornets flying a diamond formation at an air show in Lynchburg, Va, a Blue Angels spokeswoman told The Associated Press. All six aircraft landed safely about three-fourths of the way through the scheduled performance without damage to the jets or injury to the pilots.