One year ago today, on June 2, 2016, USMC Capt. Jeff “Kooch” Kuss, Blue Angel 6, was lost in a tragic accident while practicing for The Great Tennessee Air Show.
I was honored to work with Sean Tucker that day on a few shoots, ahead of the weekend’s shows, one of which was with Jeff and Blue Angel 5, Lt. Ryan Chamberlain. A dream come true for any aviation photographer, and I think most pilots too. The flight went flawlessly too; everyone made it look so easy, true professionals.
But the day would quickly go from amazing to tragic, because little did we know, it would be Jeff’s last flight.
I hadn’t thoroughly reviewed the images yet, when the accident happened. We were actually preparing for another photo shoot, our third of the day, when it occurred.
It wasn’t long after, when the Blues and Sean asked to see the images, and there’s one that sticks out more than the rest, easily. At one point, the sun reflected a starburst off Capt. Kuss’ canopy, but only his canopy – not Blue Angel 5 or Sean Tucker’s. I caught it on video too; it clearly happens only to jet 6.