Pilot Killed In Blue Angels Crash Once Gave Ride To OU Coach

Sunday, April 22nd 2007, 7:50 pm
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- The Navy Blue Angels pilot who died Saturday in a crash in South Carolina once had Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops as a passenger in his plane. Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was in his second year with the Blue Angels, who are known for their high-speed aerobatic demonstrations.

Last May 10th, Davis took Stoops and former "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson on a ride in his Blue Angels jet in Fort Worth, Texas.

On Sunday, Stoops recalled the flight.

"My experience with Lt. Davis was overwhelming," Stoops said. "You just don't run into that caliber of person very often. He was bright and obviously very intelligent; a role model. That came across to me in just half a day. I was personally very saddened when I heard the news of his passing. He made a significant impact on me in a short period of time. It's apparent to me that more than losing an accomplished pilot and serviceman, we lost a very good man."

The crash happened Saturday afternoon as the team was performing its final maneuver during an air show in Beaufort, S.C.

The squadron's six, FA-18 Hornets routinely streak low over crowds of thousands at supersonic speeds, coming within feet, sometimes inches, of each other.

The pilots are among the Navy's most elite.

During the May flight, Stoops' hour-long ride started with a vertical climb to 7,000 feet, later Stoops said he took G-forces up to 7.8 during a minimal radius turn, causing him to black out for a second or two.

"I remember when we took off, we went straight into a 90-degree climb," Stoops said Sunday. "When the climb was over, I said, 'Man, I bet that never gets old.' And he said, 'I've got to admit, it's a great way to wake up every morning.' You could tell that he loved what he was doing."