It all happened so fast that the other Blue Angels pilots, flying in a close six-jet pattern, barely had time to register something was wrong.
The elite demonstration team’s flight surgeon, watching from the ground at the Smyrna, Tennessee, airport, noticed one of the aircraft in rapid descent.
“Kooch check alt,” he radioed, using the call sign for the number six soloist, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. Seconds later, observers on the ground saw a fireball as Kuss’ F/A-18 Hornet hit the ground.
“Knock it off,” came the radio order from the ground communications team, telling the other five aircraft to cease maneuvers and return.
For the complete story by Hope Hodge Seck of Military.com, click here.