Blue Angels commander steps down

      Courtesy: Joshua Davis Photography via flickr

      PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The commander of the Navy's famed Blue
      Angels flight demonstration team said Friday he is voluntarily
      leaving the team soon after some of its jets flew at a lower
      altitude than allowed at a Virginia air show last weekend.

      Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss announced his departure four days after the
      team said it was going on an indefinite safety stand-down because
      of the error.

      Four of the six F/A-18 Hornets flew below their specified
      altitude in a diamond formation at the Lynchburg, Va., show. All
      six aircraft landed safely about three-fourths of the way through
      the scheduled performance without damage to the planes or injury to
      the pilots. The exact altitude they violated has not been released.
      The team cancelled performances surrounding Friday's graduation
      at the U.S. Naval Academy and a planned Memorial Day weekend
      performances at an air show in Millville, N.J.

      "I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum
      altitude," Koss said in a statement released by the Navy. "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."

      Greg McWherter, a former Blue Angels' Commanding Officer will
      replace Koss for the season, the team said. Because of the change,
      the team has cancelled its performances at the Rockford Airfest in
      Illinois on June 4-5 and the Evansville Freedom Festival Airshow in
      Indiana on June 11-12.

      Blue Angels pilot Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis died at a 2007 air show
      in South Carolina when he briefly lost control of his No. 6 jet and
      it went down.