| News |

Jeff Kuss, R.I.P.: Saluting Colorado-Born Blue Angels Pilot Killed in Practice Flight

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Just a few months ago, Durango-born Blue Angels pilot Jeff Kuss got a chance to meet John Elway prior to thrilling the crowd with a flyover prior to a big Denver Broncos win at the Super Bowl.

Now, Elway is saluting Kuss, who died in a crash during a practice flight prior to a planned performance at the Great Tennessee Airshow in the community of Smyrna.

In the wake of Kuss's death, Elway tweeted the photo above along with this note: "Honored to have met @BlueAngels Capt Jeff Kuss, a Broncos fan & Colo. native, at Super Bowl. Prayers to his family."

This tribute isn't the only one that's been paid to Kuss in the wake of his passing on a day marked by another high-profile mishap involving a ceremonial flyover. In addition to the Tennessee incident, a Thunderbird jet deployed during President Barack Obama's commencement address at the Air Force Academy crashed outside Colorado Springs; the pilot survived.

A July 2014 post on the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Facebook page features this photo of Kuss....

...and the following description:

F/A-18 Demonstration Pilot: Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, 30, of Durango, Colo., is currently assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 (VMFA-312) Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. He is a 2006 graduate of Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colo.

A Navy Times report notes that Kuss officially became a member of the Blue Angels the following September, and since then, he's taken part in many high-profile events — the Super Bowl chief among them.

The crash that took his life remains under investigation. But Kuss reportedly maneuvered his stricken aircraft away from populated areas before his death — a topic frequently mentioned in tweets about him. Here's one example....

...and another:

Kuss left behind his wife, Christina, and two children. We offer our sincere condolences to them and all of Jeff Kuss's friends, family and loved ones.

Here's a 9News report about Kuss.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.