Blue Angels of Death

The six pilots perform spectacular feats of daring in the blue sky, diving from thousands of feet in their shiny blue A-4 Skyhawk fighters, twirling, somersaulting, sometimes almost dancing in tandem at more than 300 m.p.h. Most of the time the display of flying finesse comes off without a hitch. In the 39 years since the Navy's elite Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team was established, some 168 million onlookers have watched the Angels' shows, mouths agape at the sheer skill and bravery involved.

On occasion, however, something goes wrong, and a fortnight ago it did. In Niagara Falls, Lieut. Commander Robert...

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