Fallen Angel

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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.

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Six Blue Angel jets fly the "missing man formation" at Marine Corp Air Station Beaufort in memory of Lt. Cmdr. Davis. It could be three weeks before the cause of the crash is announced.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Six Blue Angel jets fly the "missing man formation" at Marine Corp Air Station Beaufort in memory of Lt. Cmdr. Davis. It could be three weeks before the cause of the crash is announced.

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 Lt. Cmdr. Davis' jet didn't join.

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, sometimes coming within 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, 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 Navy said it could be at least three weeks before it announces what might have caused the crash. The squadron was scheduled to return to its home base of Pensacola Naval Air Station late Sunday.

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meme02
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meme02 04/23/07 - 12:53 am
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ahhhhhhhhh I am so sorry ! My

ahhhhhhhhh I am so sorry ! My condolences goes out to Lt. Cmdr. Davis' family and those that were injuried

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 04/23/07 - 08:55 am
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Please get it correct, the

Please get it correct, the jets do not, at any time reach supersonic speeds during a display. They at times reacg high sub-sonic speeds but don't actually break the sound barrier.

To do so would violate various FAR's as well as Navy regs.

2deepsouth
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2deepsouth 04/23/07 - 06:30 pm
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this article can kissmy [filtered word]

this article can kissmy [filtered word]

wsm141
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wsm141 04/23/07 - 07:49 pm
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The fastest any one aircraft

The fastest any one aircraft gets during a Blue's performance is just over 600 mph per hour. That is known as the high speed pass. I was at homecoming in pensacola two weeks after the mishap that occurred at Moody Airforce Base in 1999. Lt. Cmdr. Keiran O'Connor Angel #3 was flying the two seat #7 aircraft with new pilot Lt. Kevin Colling on board for a orientation ride. His wife opened the show. The entire show was performed missing man formation. It was then as it is now a very sad day for all.

markxr7
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markxr7 04/24/07 - 12:21 am
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hey you ignorant ap morons

hey you ignorant ap morons out there! the planes in the photo above are not the blue angels. they are the geico skytypers flying the missing man formation the day after the loss of lt cmdr davis. we will miss you man. godspeed to you! the other readers who left posts here are correct. the planes never reach supersonic speeds because the shockwave from the sonic boom would generate enough force to blow the [filtered word] out of windows in nearby structures. do you dumb asses here at the chronicle do your homework on this stuff???? pathetic.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 04/24/07 - 01:05 pm
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There are old pilots and bold

There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old,bold pilots.

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