ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
* U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 SPACE
 HEALTH
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

US

Blue Angel crash victims identified

O'Connor
O'Connor became a member of the Blue Angels in September 1999; officals say he was piloting the plane at the time of the crash  

October 28, 1999
Web posted at: 10:19 p.m. EDT (0219 GMT)

VALDOSTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Two Navy pilots died when their F/A-18 jet assigned to the Blue Angels' precision flying team crashed in a wooded area of south Georgia on Thursday, erupting in a ball of flame.

One of the pilots had just become a member of the Blue Angels last month.

The plane was returning from a practice for an air show at nearby Moody Air Force Base this weekend when it crashed at 12:20 p.m. while practicing "circle and arrival maneuvers," a spokesman said.

Witnesses saw a fireball when the plane struck the ground in woodland near Valdosta and there were no reports of parachutes being seen.

The pilots were identified as Lt. Cmdr. Kieron O'Connor of Burtonsville, Maryland, and Lt. Kevin Colling of Castlerock, Colorado. O'Connor, who was riding in the back of the jet, became a member the Blue Angels in September 1998 and an active team flier a year later.

 VIDEO
CNN's Eric Horng reports on the crash and the history of the Blue Angels.
Windows Media 28K 80K
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
Plane crashes
 
  AUDIO
TEST

Listen to Cmdr. Patrick Driscoll of the Blue Angels describe the pilots' experience with the squadron

Driscoll 257K/24 sec.
AIFF or WAV sound
 

O'Connor, who had earned his Navy wings in October 1990, had extensive flying experience with more than 2,000 flight hours and 295 carrier landings. He was completing his first year as a Blue Angel.

Colling was finishing his first month with the squadron and was scheduled to be one of the new pilots next year.

Navy officials said O'Connor was piloting the aircraft which was not flying in tight formation or executing any of the squadron's ultra-sophisticated maneuvers at the time, a Navy spokesmen said. He was in "loose cruise" formation at the time of the crash.

The air show, scheduled for this weekend at Moody Air Force Base, has been canceled.

The plane was the Blue Angels' only two-seat version of the F/A-18 Hornet -- an F/A-18B -- and is a model no longer made, said a spokeswoman for the Navy. In 1997, the last year it was sold, it cost $33.5 million, she said.

The Blue Angels fly to numerous locations around the world to perform each year.

Blue Angels
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels are known for their precision flying and tight formations  

The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration in June 1946, less than a year after Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, then the chief of naval operations, ordered the group's formation to keep the public interested in naval aviation, according to the group's website.

Their home base is the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

In 1992, more than 1 million people viewed their performances during a 30-day European deployment to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Britain and Spain.

Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report



RELATED STORIES:
Cockpit voice recorder recovered at Stewart crash site
October 27, 1999
Vintage plane crashes, burns in Nashville neighborhood
September 25, 1999
8 killed in Scotland plane crash
September 3, 1999
Ambulance plane crashes into Florida mall; at least 4 killed
September 3, 1999
All three bodies from Kennedy plane crash located
July 21, 1999
Military plane crash in India claims at least 16 lives
March 7, 1999
46 die in Russian military plane crash
December 6, 1997

RELATED SITES:
United States Navy Blue Angels
U.S. Navy Blue Angels Alumni Association
Moody Air Force Base
The Pentagon
NAS Pensacola
Valdosta Georgia Interactive
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.