A month after standing down following the tragic death of pilot Jeff Kuss, the Pensacola-based Blue Angels flight demonstration team announced Saturday that they would resume their performance schedule next weekend.

The team will perform at the National Cherry Festival Air Show in Traverse City, Mich. the weekend of July 2-4, using a modified five-jet demonstration as well as Fat Albert, the Blue Angels’ C-130.

Kuss was killed on June 2 during a practice flight near Smyrna, Tenn., prompting the team to suspend flight operations. Scheduled performances in Smyrna, Syracuse, N.Y., Dayton, Ohio, and Vero Beach, Fla. were cancelled as the team returned to their home base at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

“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, the team’s commanding officer and flight leader. “The Blue Angels are looking forward to flying in Traverse City, Mich. on Fourth of July weekend, and are also honored to have the opportunity to perform in celebration of our great nation’s Independence Day. Our fans and the entire air show industry have been extremely patient as we have navigated through this very difficult loss of our teammate, and for that, we will always be grateful.”

The Blues will then perform at the Gary, Ind. Air Show the weekend of July 9-10 before coming home to Pensacola for the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show on July 15-16. The Pensacola Beach show is one of the Blues’ largest annual events, drawing as many as 100,000 people.


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