Navy’s Blue Angels fly again after sequestration
LANCASTER (CNS) – The Blue Angels, the Navy’s elite aerial acrobats, will be back in the air this week in the team’s first show in Los Angeles County since sequestration grounded the team from performing in public air shows.
“At one point we didn’t know what our future was and we are just thrilled that we got the opportunity to do this again,” said Cmdr. Tom Frosch, a commanding officer and flight leader for the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels will perform at the L.A. County Air Show at the Gen. William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster on Friday and Saturday.
The Blue Angels marked their return to public shows last weekend, with a demonstration of their blue F/A-18 Hornet jets at Naval Air Facility El Centro Air Show 2014. El Centro’s military airfield is the winter base for the Blue Angels, which have remained together over the past year in the face of federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
“We were fortunate enough to get this coming season back,” Frosch said. “By retaining the team, retaining the corporate knowledge, we were able to get the demonstration back up pretty quickly.”
With the Navy facing $4 billion in cuts, planes were grounded for most of last year and most of their performances were canceled, including the popular Miramar Air Show in October.
“We were disappointed,” Frosch said. “We put a lot of training into it. We understood the issues, but we were focused on channeling our efforts elsewhere.”
The team’s pilots and supporting staff kept practicing, and some even showed up to public appearances.
“We are just excited to be back,” Frosch said. “We’re fired up about our air show this week.”
According to some estimates, the cancellation of the Blue Angels season saved the Department of Defense between $20 million and $25 million.
Other performers will include the Red Bull Air Force, vintage aircraft and the Blue Angels Lockheed C-130 support aircraft, known as “Fat Albert.”