Reporter shares memory of flying with Blue Angels pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss


Investigators are working to figure out what caused a Blue Angels pilot to crash during a practice flight Thursday afternoon.

The pilot has been identified as Capt. Jeff Kuss, a Colorado native who is survived by two young children.

The Navy said Kuss crashed just after takeoff. Five other F-A-18 jets landed safely moments later.

Several witnesses say it appears Kuss stayed in the plane so he could steer it away from homes.

In October 2015, the Blue Angels returned to Jacksonville where the squadron first took flight.

WJAX's Lorena Inclan got to take a flight with Kuss while the Blue Angels were in town for the annual Sea and Sky Spectacular airshow.

Kuss talked Lorena through a series of maneuvers in his F-18 Hornet. He was flying plane No. 7 at the time.

Even during all those aerobatics, he took a moment to address the thrill and the danger that his job entailed.

"As a pilot, when you're down low flying, there's just no room for error so you gotta be very cognizant of that," Kuss said.

Inclan shared her memories of flying with Kuss:

"I got invited to fly with the Blue Angels last year and immediately I agreed. It's the Blue Angels right?

"When I got there, they gave us a briefing and I got to meet Captain Kuss. He was so calm, cool, collected.

"He explained everything that we did. Even when I passed out he said 'don't worry, I've seen football players pass out back there.'

"He did tell me how the training that they go through, how many hours of flight, how difficult it is to get to the level that they get to and also how they not only do exhibition shows, but they also do combat missions."