Blue Angels And Thunderbirds Air Shows Potentially On The Budget Chopping Block
 
  
 
 
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Blue Angels And Thunderbirds Air Shows Potentially On The Budget Chopping Block
 
By Steve Hall
 

February 28, 2013 - The U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps calls for an end to all non-essential flying including air show performances if sequestration cuts are implemented. The International Council of Air Shows urges Congress and the White House to allow the military to continue touching millions of lives with their performances this year.  

Last year, more than 13 million Americans attended an air show. Hundreds of air shows are held every year in the United States, featuring world-class entertainment and bringing significant economic impact sometimes tens of millions of dollars to local communities. These family-friendly events are being threatened this year by President Obama and Congress’ sequestration budget cuts. 

 

The sequestration portion of the 2011 Budget Control Act mandates $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts during the next ten years. There is a growing consensus among congressional leaders that legislatively-mandated budget cuts will not be averted, forcing the Pentagon to make severe budget cuts beginning March 1. 

Contingency planning by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps calls for an end to all non-essential flying including air show performances if sequestration cuts are implemented. Although specific details about air shows and open houses held on military bases have not been shared, several of these events have already been cancelled in anticipation of budget cuts and others will almost certainly follow if the March 1 sequestration deadline passes without a resolution to the budgetary deadlock. 

“Air shows are low-cost, patriotic, family-friendly events that support the local community, but also give us a chance to honor the men and women of our armed services,” says John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS).  

“Our country has difficult financial challenges to overcome, but these cuts are not the way to solve them. ICAS urges Congress and the White House to solve this problem another way and allow the military to continue touching millions of lives with their performances this year.”

 

 

In 2012, air shows had a total direct economic impact of more than $450 million in 300 communities around the country. In addition, air shows throughout the country direct a portion of the proceeds generated by the events to approximately 4,000 different charities and philanthropies nationwide. In addition to being one of the military’s most effective recruiting tools for the country’s all-volunteer military services, air shows provide citizens with a unique opportunity to see our nation’s military in action right in their backyard. 

Continues Cudahy, “Military jet performances are a major attraction at air shows across the country and provide tens of millions of citizens with a strong dose of excitement, inspiration and patriotism. It would be disappointing to millions of air show spectators if they were unable to perform this year, but, if the sequester cuts are made, the 2013 air show season will go on with hundreds of air shows scheduled from Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle and from San Diego to Maine. These shows will include world-class civilian performers in aerobatic aircraft, vintage military aircraft, formation teams, ground-based performers, parachute acts, sailplanes, wing walkers, radio-controlled aircraft and pyrotechnic displays.”

 
 
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