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Blue Angels Stop at Barksdale Air Force Base Is in Jeopardy

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Federal budget cuts are beginning to be felt in several areas. The air show at Barksdale Air Force Base might be one of the casualties — or at least the plan to bring the Navy Blue Angels to town could be in jeopardy.

KEEL News has learned that all of the Blue Angels appearances in April have been cancelled. But the local show is scheduled for May 4 and 5.

So far, there is no official word about that planned appearance. The Air Force has cancelled 58 shows planned for the Thunderbirds.

“The Navy is still trying to determine the amount of flight training the Blue Angels will be able to do when they return to Pensacola,” said Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the Naval Air Forces command in San Diego.

The Blue Angels are in winter training in El Centro, California. Could they be ready for a show at Barksdale in early May?

Stephens tells the Pensacola News Journal the amount of time they are allowed to practice in March and April may determine whether their show schedule could be resumed in May if a congressional agreement that provides a budget alternative to sequestration is reached. 

He adds: “There’s a large difference between the flight hours required to maintain a Naval aviator’s qualification to fly and the amount required to fly with the Blue Angels.” The Blue Angels are funded out of the Navy’s recruitment budget and cost about $40 million a year, according to budget documents.

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