Blue Angel F-18 Lost Within Hours Of Thunderbirds Crash

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Marine Corps pilot reported dead in accident.

It’s been a shocking day for both of America’s acrobatics demonstration teams. This morning, an Air Force F-16 taking part in a graduation flyover for the Air Force Academy crashed after its pilot lost control of the aircraft and ejected. That member of the Thunderbirds team survived and was visited by President Obama, who had been speaking at the graduation.

Then at 3:01 p.m. in Smyrna, Tennessee, a Blue Angels F-18 Hornet crashed shortly after takeoff during a practice for The Great Tennessee Air Show this weekend in Nashville.

Witnesses on the ground said the pilot didn’t eject because he was trying to avoid apartment buildings as the plane went down.

UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as Marine Corps Captain Jeff Kuss, a native of Durango, Colorado.

The Air Force Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House & Air Show on June 11 & 12, but we’ll have to keep you updated if that show will go on as planned in the wake of these tragic accidents.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Aviation Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?