MTSU Event Continues Without Blue Angels

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 19:33:27-04

The lecture event in preparation for this weekend’s Great Tennessee Air Show continued despite the absence of the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels canceled its appearance following the death of Captain Jeff Kuss on Thursday.

Around 100 people attended the presentation, which MTSU officials began with a moment of silence honoring the fallen pilot.

“The overwhelming feeling was that of grief and sadness,” Joshua Williams with the Smyrna Composite Squadron remembered. “If one of us goes down, then all of us goes down.”

The event was already planned to continue with the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team who spoke to dozens of students, parents, and members of the aerospace community.

“Aviation and airplanes awe people in general,” Technical Sergeant Jonathan Billie said. “The fact that you can get a big piece of metal up in the air and sufficiently do what it’s supposed to do is incredible.”

Dozens of cadets with the Civil Air Patrol were in attendance as the F-22 Raptor Demo Team delved in the team’s roles, mission, and functions of the F-22.

“I wish I could fly an F-22 one day,” Noah Klepper, an eager student told NewsChannel 5.

The F-22 Raptor Demo Team consists of 13 members and has been based at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Five representatives were at the event acting as community ambassadors in sharing Air Force capabilities.

This season has the team traveling from city to city from March through November to perform in 22 shows.

Many of the shows include the Blue Angels, who were still in Smyrna Friday following the crash. Those with the Blue Angels flew back home to Florida Friday afternoon.

“I think this year we'll do 12 shows with the Blue Angels,” Sgt. Billie added. “It’s a tight community, and we see them pretty often.”

The Blue Angels last appeared at MTSU for a similar event in 2014.

Aside from the F-22 Raptor Demo Team, the Breitling Jet Team will also headline the Great Tennessee Air Show.