2007 Blue Angels South Carolina crash
|Date||April 21, 2007|
|Site||Near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Beaufort, South Carolina, United States|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||8 (on the ground)|
|Aircraft type||F/A-18 Hornet|
|Operator||United States Navy Blue Angels|
The 2007 Blue Angels South Carolina crash occurred on April 21, 2007, when the Number 6 US Navy Blue Angels jet crashed during the final minutes of an air show at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina. The sole fatality was confirmed and identified as the pilot, Lieutenant Commander Kevin "Kojak" Davis, by the Blue Angels on April 22, 2007. The body of the pilot and the Black Box were later recovered and moved to the local coroner's office. There were eight injuries reported on the ground.
A report was released on 15 January 2008, ending the investigation by the Navy into the crash. The report states that when Commander Davis pulled back into a 6.8-g pull, he lost control of the aircraft due to the effect of greyout.
Early reporting indicated that all six planes were making their final turns into the landing pattern when Blue Angel #6 flew behind the audience and low over a tree-line, three miles away from air show center, and possibly clipped power lines and a tall pine tree near Shanklin Road. This was followed by a large plume of black smoke, which Blue Angel #1 immediately began to circle while the others landed. A local official later said that due to safety regulations, there was only a very slim possibility that the tree or power lines could have brought the aircraft down. The plane slid for two hundred to three hundred yards after it hit the ground, crashing through homes and vehicles. Seconds after the crash, several rescue helicopters and local emergency vehicles went to the crash site in response to 9-1-1 calls. The Navy identified the pilot as LCDR Kevin J. Davis of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the opposing solo in the #6 jet.
The Blue Angels returned to their home base at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, to discuss continuing their season. Sunday's air show went on as planned but, in a special tribute, the GEICO Skytypers flew the missing man formation in honor of the fallen Blue Angel.
Soon after LCDR Davis’ crash, the Blue Angels began performing a five-jet demonstration. The squadron called back former Blue Angel, LCDR Craig Olson, to fill the opposing solo position. He began performing after practicing with the team for a few weeks. LCDR Olson served with the squadron from 2003 through 2005 during which time he flew both solo positions.
The fears stimulated by the crash have had some lingering effects. Since the 1980s the Blue Angels have performed as part of the festivities for San Francisco's annual Fleet Week. However, the crash has caused some in the city of San Francisco to lose confidence in the practicality and safety of the Blue Angels' performance in an urban area. San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly brought a resolution up to San Francisco's board of supervisors in an effort to ban the Angels' performance. The resolution sparked outrage among many Bay Area residents and ultimately failed to pass.
- U.S. Navy "Blue Angels" jet crashes, Reuters, April 21, 2007 7:32PM EDT
- Report: Blue Angels Pilot Dies In S.C. Plane Crash, Associated Press article, Posted on NBCSandiego.com, UPDATED: 3:33 pm PDT April 22, 2007[dead link]
- Fox News Live: 22 April 07, 10:08 AM Live Interview
- Amos, Smith, "Report: Blue Angels pilot became disoriented", Military Times, January 16, 2008.
- Lowcountry Mourns Loss of Fallen Blue Angel[dead link] (PDF version)[dead link], The Jet Stream online, USMC, April 27, 2007 print edition
- Pilot killed in S.C. Blue Angel crash, By Bruce Smith, Associated Press, Posted on Yahoo News Sat Apr 21, 7:47 PM ET[dead link]
- Report: Blue Angels Pilot Dies In S.C. Plane Crash[dead link]
- Blue Angel crashes; pilot killed; eyewitness reports home caught fire[dead link]
- "Blue Angel Pilot Killed in Air Show Crash Identified". US Navy. 2007-04-23. NNS070423-01.[dead link]
- "Blue Angels back home to mourn pilot". Associated Press (Boston Herald). 2007-04-24 - Updated: 01:55 AM EST. [dead link]
- Mercury News
- Pre-accident pictures of the airplane
- Report information issued by the Pensacola Journal
- JAG Manual Investigation Basic Report Redacted Copy