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Air shows cancelled: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds grounded by sequester (+video)

Air shows cancelled: Automatic sequester budget cuts mean an end to the 2013 season for the Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds. The real losers may be local economies benefitting from air shows.

Navy Week canceled in California
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Travelers across the US are pleased that furloughs for air traffic controllers have been cancelled. Aside from the usual delays for weather and maintenance problems, that means fewer hours trapped on the tarmac or looking for places to charge smart phones in airport terminals.

But there’s another group of frequent flyers who’ve been grounded by across-the-board budget cuts due to the sequester: Navy and Air Force flight demonstration teams, those aerial hotshots whose main purpose is to enhance public relations, attract new recruits, and reflect patriotism with what’s been bumper-stickered as “The Sound of Freedom.”

There are plenty of other air shows around the country, such as the “Vidalia Onion Festival Air Show” in Georgia and the “Take to the Skies AirFest” in Durant, Okla. They just won’t feature the Air Force Thunderbirds or the Navy Blue Angels flying genuine fighter jets. Or the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team.

All three have cancelled their season.


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