Blue Angels back in the air; critics fired up
The Blue Angels have resumed performances, three weeks after one of the team’s pilots was killed while practicing for a show in Tennessee, and plan to participate in San Francisco’s Fleet Week in October.
The U.S. Navy’s aerial stunt team suspended three weekend performances after the June 2 crash at the Smyrna, Tenn., airport outside Nashville. The pilot, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, was killed. No one on the ground was hurt.
The crash renewed criticism of the Blue Angels and Fleet Week by some San Francisco supervisors, because of safety concerns and ideological opposition to celebrating military force.
While the investigation of the crash is ongoing, a Navy spokeswoman said Monday, the Blue Angels will return to their regular 2016 performance schedule, starting with a July 2-4 show in Traverse City, Mich.
“The team is proud to resume the Blue Angels mission, representing the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps, and inspiring a culture of excellence,” said Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi, commanding officer and flight leader, in a statement.
San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos said he would introduce a nonbinding resolution by August limiting the team of six F/A-18 fighter jets from flying over the city during its Fleet Week practices and air shows. He said he worried about the aerial stunt team crashing and hitting a building in the city. The fighter jets could still perform over the bay.
There have been previous attempts to ban the Blue Angels from flying over the city. In 2007, then-Supervisor Chris Daly unsuccessfully pushed for a similar resolution after a fatal Blue Angels crash at an air show in South Carolina. The resolution failed to make it out of committee.