Sequestration shuts down Thunderbirds

Mar 8 2013 - 10:53am

Images

FILE - In this Saturday, July 21, 2012 file photo, members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at the Air Expo 2012 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Lui Kit Wong, Tacoma News Tribune, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 3, 2012 file photo, the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute in before a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Colorado Rockies, in St. Louis. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 file photo, two U.S. Navy Blue Angels execute a crossing maneuver at close range during the Miramar Air Show in San Diego. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, July 21, 2012 file photo, members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at the Air Expo 2012 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Lui Kit Wong, Tacoma News Tribune, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 3, 2012 file photo, the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute in before a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Colorado Rockies, in St. Louis. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 file photo, two U.S. Navy Blue Angels execute a crossing maneuver at close range during the Miramar Air Show in San Diego. Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams are expected to be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars. When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, 2013, the Air Force canceled its air shows at bases from Florida to Arizona. It also grounded its team of formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team has also canceled performances. The Navy’s famous Blue Angels say military commanders “intend to cancel” their April shows. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- In response to the looming sequestration, the Air Force has canceled all aviation support to public events for at least the remainder of the fiscal year and is shutting down the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team to save flying hours to support readiness needs.

The cancellation includes all air shows, trade shows, flyovers at funerals and military graduations, orientation flights, heritage flights, F-22 demonstration flights and open houses.

Hill Air Force Base spokesman Rich Essary said the decision will not impact the base, as an air show had not been scheduled for 2013 and Hill had no planned events featuring the Thunderbirds.

Overall, the Air Force will reduce flying hours by as much as 18 percent, which is approximately 203,000 hours.

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