For years, air shows have not only been a staple of the summer season, but have also been a great way to showcase the skills of the military's best pilots. However, that won't be the case this year. Dozens of air show have been canceled due to the spending cuts enacted by sequestration reports The Associated Press.
The reduced funding has grounded planes in the Navy's Blue Angels, the Air Force's Thunderbirds and also the Army's elite parachuting team – the Golden Knights. An estimated 60 air shows have been canceled so far this year, and experts estimate that some may not come back in 2014 even if some of the spending cuts are put to an end. By grounding the military planes, popular air shows may face significantly reduced crowds.
"Having the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels is like having the Super Bowl, it's a household name," Bill Walkup, manager of the Martinsburg, W.V., airport, told the AP.
Due to sequestration, the Air Force's flying hours need to be reduced by about 18 percent, The New York Times notes. Although they may be unpopular, policy analysts say the cuts – which will save an estimated $9.75 million from the Thunderbirds' budget alone – was the right choice.