(CNN) -- The Blue Angels lost a hero Saturday, when Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis' jet crashed during a precision-flying team demonstration in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Headline News anchor Robin Meade and meteorologist Bob Van Dillen got to know Davis personally last year, when the pilot welcomed the "Robin & Company" team for a couple of in-flight demonstrations. Here, Meade and Van Dillen share their personal memories of the 11-year Navy veteran.
Meade remembers Blue Angel's passion
In April 2006, I had the pleasure of meeting and flying with Lt. Cmdr. Davis
Here we were in this jet -- pulling multi-G's -- blood is rushing from my head and I'm obviously making an effort not to pass out. All the while Davis is piloting the plane and narrating with the ease of a fireside chat. (Watch Robin Meade of Headline News remember her flight with Davis )
Have you ever come across someone whose passion for their job was so obvious, they didn't have to state it for you to know it? That was the case when I flew with "Kojak" during a ride-along with the Navy Blue Angels. (The Navy wouldn't divulge, by the way, why his nickname was "Kojak.") Davis was imposing in stature -- tall and athletic -- yet welcoming and accommodating in demeanor.
It's funny the things your mind latches on to. I still remember his voice. It had a pleasant and soothing quality; so much so I thought he would have a good radio broadcaster's voice.
After our flight, he asked when his feature would be on television, so he could tell his parents when to watch. I found that endearing. Here was a guy whose job had him on TV every week with some different reporter or celebrity, yet it would still tickle him enough that he wanted to make sure his parents saw the story.
I thought about his parents after reading they attended the air show where his jet crashed. My condolences to them and the Navy Blue Angels team for their loss. I hope they can find some comfort in knowing he died doing the job he loved.
Van Dillen: Davis had a great sense of humor
I flew with Davis this past September, and he made it one of the best experiences of my life.
As I was boarding the Number 7 plane, I saw him eating his lunch casually in the hangar. I thought it was funny because they told me not to eat anything for four hours before the flight. He was in such good shape that he could eat and have no ill-effects immediately afterwards.
Once we were up in the air, Davis was a calming voice. He would tell me what every maneuver would be before we did it, and his voice never got excited as we performed the moves. He was just plain smooth up there, and made me relax as much as I could.
On one of the last moves he told me, "Alright, this move is a bear." He took us to 7.7 G's, and naturally I passed out. The next thing I heard was "Did you have a dream that you remember?" Davis, I learned, also had a great sense of humor.
Headline News anchor Robin Meade greets Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis in April 2006.
Quick Job Search