|Apr 22, 2007, 07:33 AM|
"Blue Angels TEAM MEMBER" LCDR Kevin J. Davis
Blue Angels pilot dies in crash at S.C. air show
Navy jet drops from formation and explodes; eight injured by debris
Good morning to all F/A-18 Hornet (RC) Pilots Drivers
This is a sad week-end for all of us. A "Blue Angels TEAM MEMBER" (Pilot Driver) as lost life in is F/A-18 Hornet yesturday.
I would like to express my deepest tought toward that lost to the Pilot family and Blue Angels buddies by opening this thread to all of you who would like to share a fiew words.
I will make shure this thread get to the "Blue Angels TEAM" & family so they can have our words of support after this terrible lost...
Thank-you all for sharing deep respect towards this great Blue Angels Pilot.
Regards to all and again thank-you for your support.
Updated: 11:16 p.m. ET April 21, 2007
BEAUFORT, S.C. - A Navy Blue Angel jet crashed during an air show Saturday, plunging into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers and killing the pilot.
Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation during the show at the Marine Corps Air Station at about 4 p.m. and one dropped below the trees and crashed, sending up clouds of smoke.
Raymond Voegeli, a plumber, was backing out of a driveway when the plane ripped through a grove of pine trees, dousing his truck in flames and debris. He said wreckage hit “plenty of houses and mobile homes.”
“It was just a big fireball coming at me,” said Voegeli, 37. “It was just taking pine trees and just clipping them.”
Witnesses said metal and plastic wreckage — some of it on fire — hit homes in the neighborhood, located about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head Island. William Winn, the county emergency management director, said several homes were damaged. Eight people on the ground were injured.
Routine was almost over.
The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, a Blue Angel pilot. The pilots were doing a maneuver which involved all six planes joining from behind the crowd to form a Delta triangle, said Lt. Cmdr. Garrett D. Kasper, spokesman for the Blue Angels. One plane did not rejoin the formation.
Walley said the name of the pilot would not be released until relatives were notified of the death. A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years — and it was his first as a demonstration pilot.
“Our squadron and the entire U.S. Navy are grieving the loss of a great American, a great Naval officer and a great friend,” Walley said.
Kasper said all possible causes of the crash are under investigation, and it could take at least three weeks for an official cause to be released.
A ‘surreal’ moment John Sauls, who lives near the crash site, said the planes were banking back and forth before one disappeared, and a plume of smoke shot up.
“It’s one of those surreal moments when you go, ’No, I didn’t just see what I saw,”’ Sauls said.
The Blue Angels fly F/A-18 Hornets at high speeds in close formations, and their pilots are considered the Navy’s elite. They don’t wear the traditional G-suits that most jet pilots use to avoid blacking out during maneuvers. The suits inflate around the lower body to keep blood in the brain, but which could cause a pilot to bump the control stick — a potentially deadly move when flying inches from other planes.
Instead, Blue Angels manage G-forces by tensing their abdominal muscles.
The last Blue Angel crash that killed a pilot took place in 1999, when a pilot and crewmate were killed while practicing for air shows with the five other Blue Angels jets at a base in Georgia.
Saturday’s show was at the beginning of the team’s flight season, and more than 100,000 people were expected to attend. The elite team, which is based at Pensacola Naval Air Station, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.
The 2007 team has a new flight leader and two new pilots; Blue Angel pilots traditionally serve two-year rotations.
Kasper said the team would return to Florida on Sunday afternoon. “We will regroup,” he said.
|Apr 22, 2007, 01:05 PM|
Oh man this sucks, now I want to know what happened. I don't know if there's any video, I checked on youtube and there's nothing of the crash, just some aftermath, trees on fire and wreckage. He might have been so low and far away nobody filmed it but surely somebody's got footage that may give some clues. They say it happened during the final maneuver, I think I heard "fleur de liss" or something, anybody recall what that is? I've seen the blues only three times and I don't know their routine that well.
|Apr 22, 2007, 01:28 PM|
The 'fleur de lies' manuever, IIRC correctly, is where they come toward a central point, all pull up with smoke, go vertical, and then break away in a half loop.
Really feel bad about the news too--I've been watching them for the past 5 years every summer at Seafair up here in Seattle, and a former flight leader just joined my flying club, gave us a great hour-long presentation on the history of the Blue Angels and his experiences flying with them.
News report I heard said the plane that went in had dropped out of formation just before the crash. Engine issue?
|Apr 22, 2007, 01:39 PM|
really sucks! So sad to hear, I've been really enjoying the Blue Angels series on TV too.
Oh and Seafair is great! caught 3 of them so far, havnt been in 4 years but plan to make it back.
|Apr 22, 2007, 02:24 PM|
Hey Barry--give a shout if you do make Seafair--I know some great viewing spots for the airshow, and some good R/C fields around here as well.
Be curious to see what impact the accident has on the schedule for the Angels--how long they're going to stand down, and how much time they'll need to fully integrate one of the backup pilots into the routine.
Has the coverage indicated which plane in the formation went in--was it one of the diamond-4 or one of the two solo planes?
|Apr 22, 2007, 03:05 PM|
Very sorry to hear about this, and hope the Blue Angels can pull it together as a family and continue the tradition, risky as it is!!. We have a big show in our area on Memorial Day weekend with the Angels topping the bill. I'm guessing that won't be happening in light of this accident. Any indications of mechanical failure? Doug
|Apr 22, 2007, 03:49 PM|
One of a fiew good men...
Thanks buddies for your kind words toward that great man life.
For what I see, we all regret this lost. It is harder for other to accept, even if many dont know this man.
This great pilot will be in our memory's for a long time with this place letters here.
As you know, I want this thread to be link to the Blue Angels TEAM as a mark of respect towards their friend lost from all of us.
(The Blue Angels TEAM), and that include the pilot family & friends.
I would wish that this place stay as humble as possible, and to be a place of peacefull words towards the Blue Angels TEAM & The family and friends of this Blue Angels pilot.
Ps: Refert as many peoples as you know to have a post here, for showing this world that we all hold on to eachother (when a big lost happen in our world) by writting peacefull letters of support ...
Thanks for your heart kind sweetness, peoples.
|Apr 22, 2007, 07:47 PM|
LCDR Kevin J. Davis
LCDR Kevin J. Davis
United States Navy
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1992 where he played football and was active with the Civil Air Patrol.
He attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science with honors in 1996.
Kevin reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for Officer Candidate School and aviation indoctrination in September 1996. He completed primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and transferred to NAS Meridian, Mississippi, for intermediate and advanced flight training. While there, he flew the T-2C Buckeye and TA-4J Skyhawk, and received his wings of gold in June 1999.
Kevin reported to Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) at NAS Oceana, Virginia, for training in the F-14 Tomcat and was the “Top Stick” in his class. In July 2000 he reported to the VF-11 “Red Rippers” where he completed deployments aboard the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67).
While with the “Red Rippers,” Kevin served as the airframes/corrosion branch officer, air-to-ground training officer and head landing signals officer. His deployments included extended operations in the North Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In July 2003, Kevin transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet through Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125) at NAS Lemoore, California, and then reported to the Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC-12) “Omars,” stationed at NAS Oceana, Virginia. While at VFC-12, Kevin served as a Navy adversary pilot providing valuable air-to-air training for fleet squadrons. In December of 2004, Kevin graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) as an adversary pilot. During his tour at VFC-12, Kevin worked as the schedules officer, legal officer, FRS/SFARP officer and assistant operations officer.
Kevin joined the Blue Angels in September 2005. He has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours and 200 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include the Air Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various personal and unit awards.
Investigators probe Blue Angels crash
Pilot was 32-year-old Massachusetts man
Updated: 2 hours, 7 minutes ago
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Investigators looked through wreckage Sunday to determine what caused a Navy Blue Angel jet to crash during a maneuver, while the military identified the fallen pilot as a 32-year-old who was performing in one of his first air shows with the team.
Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis of Pittsfield, Mass. was in his second year with the Blue Angels, the team known for its high-speed, aerobatic demonstrations, Lt. Cmdr. Garrett Kasper said.
At Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the site of Saturday’s crash, a somber crowd watched Sunday as six jets flew overhead in formation. Smoke streamed behind one of the jets as it peeled away from the others to complete the “missing man formation,” the traditional salute for a lost military aviator.
“The spirit of the pilot is in the arms of a loving God,” said Rob Reider, a minister who was the announcer for the air show.
The crash happened as the team was performing its final maneuver Saturday afternoon during the air show. The team’s six pilots were joining from behind the crowd of thousands to form a triangle shape known as a delta, but Davis’ jet did not join the formation.
Moments later, his jet crashed just outside Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, hitting homes in a neighborhood about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Debris — some of it on fire — rained on homes. Eight people on the ground were injured, and some homes were damaged.
The squadron’s six, F/A-18 Hornets routinely streak low over crowds of thousands at supersonic speeds, coming within feet, sometimes inches, of each other. The pilots, among the Navy’s most elite, are so thoroughly trained and their routines so practiced that deadly crashes are rare; the last one happened in 1999.
The Navy said it could be at three weeks before it announces what may have caused the crash. The squadron was scheduled to return to its home base of Pensacola Naval Air Station late Sunday.
Ernie Christensen, a retired rear admiral and former Vietnam fighter pilot who flew with the Blue Angels and later commanded the Navy’s Top Gun fighter school in California, said he did not want to speculate about what could have caused Saturday’s crash. But he said the intense flying leaves no room for human or mechanical error.
“When you are working at high speeds, close to the ground and in close proximity to other aircraft, the environment is extremely unforgiving. That is the reason they practice so many thousands of times,” said Christensen.
The last fatal Blue Angel crash was in 1999, when a pilot and crewmate died while practicing for air shows with the five other Blue Angels jets at a base in Georgia. Saturday’s crash was the 26th fatality in the team’s 60-year history.
The Blue Angels are unique from other jet aviators because they don’t wear the traditional G-suits that most jet pilots use to avoid blacking out during maneuvers that exert strong gravitational forces.
The suits inflate around the lower body to keep blood in the brain, but that could cause a pilot to bump the control stick — a potentially deadly move when flying inches from other planes.
After the deadly 1999 crash, the Navy’s air training chief ordered the Blue Angels to consider wearing G-suits. An investigation determined that the most likely cause of that crash was that the pilot was momentarily impaired because of a prior rib injury. Pain from the rib injury might have kept the pilot from tensing his abdominal muscles during a turning causing him to suffer tunnel vision.
Pensacola Mayor John Fogg flew with Blue Angels in 1973 and 1974. During Fogg’s tenure, the squadron had six F-4 crashes and lost three members. Congress held hearings and considered getting rid of the Blue Angels but decided the flying group was beneficial as a recruiting tool and for troop morale, he said.
Fogg, who flew more than 200 combat missions in Vietnam, said Blue Angel flying is more demanding than any other type of flying — including dodging surface to air missiles. And he said that hasn’t changed through the decades.
“It’s tremendously difficult work.
The only thing that compares to it is the last 4 or 5 seconds of a night carrier landing because if you do it just right you are just right at the end of the boat,” he said.
Fascinated with planes
Friends and neighbors of Davis in Pittsfield, Mass., where he was raised, said Sunday he was fascinated with planes from the time he was a child.
During his Navy career, he earned “Top Stick” status in his class at Fighter Squadron 101 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., while training in F-14 Tomcat jets.
He flew missions supporting the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and graduated from Navy Flight Weapons School in 2004.
“He was fascinated with airplanes from the time he was little,” former neighbor Betty Sweeney said. “He knew what he wanted to do, and he did it.
That’s the only relief, that he went doing what he wanted to do.”
|Apr 22, 2007, 07:57 PM|
This is a Terrible loss. We need more people like this great man and pilot. Best wishes to his team, friends, and family.
I have watched the Blue Angels fly in South Florida for as long as I can remember, and I have always been so proud to be an American when I see them fly.
|Apr 22, 2007, 08:00 PM|
Blue Angels Team Member
I was a member of the Blues Maintence 1952-1954. We lost an pilot in 1952
Lt Pat Woods because of a ,midair collison with all four planes. The Boss then was First Blue Butch Voris. You can read this story in a book Called ( Fifty Years of Presicion FLight. It was a sad time as the Group had early that year had just reformed. The team had gone to Korea with VF 191. The Boss then was killed in Korea.. I am alway sadden when something happens with the team. I am an Private pilot and had flown with the CAF in the 80's . My Grandson is a member of VFA 2. He is an AT3. BOB MOORE
|Apr 23, 2007, 06:34 PM|
Cpt Typhoon :
Thanks for posting this information about this fine young man LCDR Kevin J. Davis.
I just found out about this about 20 minutes ago and I see you have this information posted for us to read.
I too offer my condlenses to his familly and friends.
God Bless you all !! and LCDR Kevin J. Davis, You are truely a Blue Angle.
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