By Stephen Trimble

A US Navy Boeing F/A-18A Hornet crashed on 21 April entering the final manoeuvre of an aerial display by the famed Blue Angels demonstration team, killing the pilot.

Blue Angel aircraft No. 6, flown by Lieutenant Commander Kevin J. Davis, 32, was joining the other aircraft when the crash occurred.

According to televised news reports, Davis appeared to be making a low-speed turn to enter the diamond-shaped “Delta formation” for a final pass of the airfield at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina. The aircraft then appeared to lose thrust and altitude rapidly before dropping outside the camera’s view.

The crash remains under investigation by the navy.

Data published by the Navy Safety Center shows that fiscal year 2007 has been a relatively good year for naval aircraft. As of 18 April, navy aircraft had logged a crash rate of 0.20 per 100,000 flight hours.