PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The commander of the Navy's famed BlueAngels flight demonstration team said Friday he is voluntarilyleaving the team soon after some of its jets flew at a loweraltitude than allowed at a Virginia air show last weekend.
Navy Cmdr. Dave Koss announced his departure four days after theteam said it was going on an indefinite safety stand-down becauseof the error.
Four of the six F/A-18 Hornets flew below their specifiedaltitude in a diamond formation at the Lynchburg, Va., show. Allsix aircraft landed safely about three-fourths of the way throughthe scheduled performance without damage to the planes or injury tothe pilots. The exact altitude they violated has not been released.The team cancelled performances surrounding Friday's graduationat the U.S. Naval Academy and a planned Memorial Day weekendperformances at an air show in Millville, N.J.
"I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimumaltitude," Koss said in a statement released by the Navy. "Thismaneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airbornestandard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organizationthat it is, led to my decision to step down."
Greg McWherter, a former Blue Angels' Commanding Officer willreplace Koss for the season, the team said. Because of the change,the team has cancelled its performances at the Rockford Airfest inIllinois on June 4-5 and the Evansville Freedom Festival Airshow inIndiana on June 11-12.
Blue Angels pilot Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis died at a 2007 air showin South Carolina when he briefly lost control of his No. 6 jet andit went down.