Following crashes at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and in Smyrna, TN, the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels have officially announced cancellations of their performances in the coming weeks as both teams undergo a safety stand down.
We have already reported on the Syracuse International Air Show, which was scheduled to host the Blue Angels this weekend. They moved to secure the Sea Harrier, and also announced that all profits from the show will go to the family of fallen Blue Angel Capt Jeff Kuss. The show has also been granted a Super Hornet demonstration in lieu of the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels were then scheduled to appear at the Vectren Dayton Airshow in Dayton, OH on June 18th and 19th. That show was notified Tuesday that the Blue Angels would not be attending. However, performers still scheduled for the Vectren Dayton Airshow include the USAF’s F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II and Heritage Flight, Tora Tora Tora Pearl Harbor re-enactment, the US Navy Leap Frogs and several other civilian performers. The show announced they will host the US Navy F-18 Hornet demonstration team as well.
Dayton released this statement following the Blue Angels announcement:
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel # 6 in Tennessee last week,” stated Michael Emoff, United States Air and Trade Show Board of Trustees Chairman. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Captain Kuss’s family and the Blue Angel team members,” he added.
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds also announced on Tuesday that the team would not be attending the 2016 Rhode Island International Airshow this upcoming June 11-12 weekend. A decision on the team’s performance at the Ocean City, MD airshow on June 17-18 has not been made at this time, according to the team. The Thunderbirds’ performance at the Kirtland Air Force Base Air Show was canceled last weekend immediately following the incident.
In a promising sign, the Thunderbirds returned to the skies on Tuesday for their first practice since the crash last Thursday. Hopefully they will be back to normal soon. The Blue Angels will obviously take more time to regroup and potentially retrain with a replacement solo pilot before resuming performances.