Thunderbirds grounded because of budget cuts, but Myrtle Beach air show still on

03/02/2013 12:46 AM

03/02/2013 12:56 AM

Myrtle Beach will have an air show this summer -- even without the planned star performers.

On Friday, the U.S. Air Force grounded the Thunderbirds season starting April 1 -- including the scheduled performance in Myrtle Beach in June -- after Congress didn’t act and automatic budget cuts kicked in.

But the other teams on the air show lineup are still ready to perform during the Myrtle Beach Air Show set for June 28-30 over the ocean, organizers said Friday.

Among the acts on the air show bill: AreoShell Aerobatic Team, Mike Lucas-Lucas Oil Air Show team, Raiders Aerobatic team, the Fowler Cary T33 Jet and the All Veteran Parachute Team. The U.S. Army Band also is scheduled to perform.

“Although we are optimistic that an agreement will be reached, we intend to produce the air show regardless of the Thunderbirds’ attendance,” George Cline, president and owner of Air Boss Inc. who is overseeing the show, said in a news release. “Even though the Thunderbirds are A-list performers in the air show circuit, the other talent lineup secured for our show is impressive and will no doubt attract a strong audience, especially considering the air show is free and will serve as one of several events to celebrate the city of Myrtle Beach’s 75th anniversary of incorporation.”

On Friday, the Air Force canceled support to all air shows, tradeshows, flyovers, orientation flights, heritage flights, F-22 demonstration flights and open houses.

But it said the Thunderbirds and Heritage Flight crews would still complete their certification procedures for flying aerial demonstrations in case Congress works out a plan for the budget cuts and the air teams can resume their scheduled events for 2013.

Wendy Varhegyi, chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, said earlier this week that if lawmakers are able to agree on an alternative soon after the Friday deadline, the season could be salvaged. She said the amount of time it took Congress to reach a solution would determine how soon the pilots could fly again.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service